Walking football
Lifestyle

Walking football: Everything you need to know

5 min read |

Are you thinking about starting new hobbies to stay active during retirement? Take a shot at walking football.

This low-impact game, an inclusive adaptation of traditional football, will get you scoring more than just penalties with a ton of health and social benefits.

Walking football is a great physical sport for older men and women who are looking for fun new ways to exercise.

This article will cover the ins and outs of walking football, what to expect, and how to get involved.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Walking football is a great form of exercise, especially if you have health conditions that restrict your ability to run. 
  • It’s a non-contact sport that’s also energising for your mental and physical health and can keep you busy during retirement.
  • The sport caters to older men and women, and there’s even a chance to play for the national cup. 
  • It’s also a great way to socialise, so get your game face on, and give walking football a go.

What is walking football?

Walking football is a game based on traditional football, particularly aimed at those who are over 50.

John Croot created this adaptation of ‘the beautiful game’ in 2011, and the sport has soared in popularity since then. 

It’s a great sport to take up as a hobby, and it’s open to both men over 50 and women over 40. 

It’s the perfect game if you want to get active and still feel supported, even if you have mobility conditions.

playing sport

Walking Football Association

Struggling to find a club in your local area? The Walking Football Association will provide all the details you need to find your spot.

As part of this great online community, you can sign up for events and get news and updates.

The association also has information on WFA tournaments such as the National Cup and Women’s National Cup. 

The WFA provides free advice and resources and supports anyone who wishes to join, so pop over to their website to get started.

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Why should I play walking football?

Walking football has many benefits, such as promoting a healthy mindset and improving physical health. 

Meeting like-minded individuals can give people comradery, and boost social engagement and mood. 

If you are older, it is important to maintain your health as best you can so that you can limit the chance of developing health problems.

Low-impact exercises like tai chi and chair yoga are fantastic options to try alongside walking football to build fitness and flexibility. 

Where can you play?

Walking football games and sessions may take place in various settings, such as a sports park or community hall. 

Your local football club will likely have sessions you can attend, but you can always ask your local council for help. 

If you have a local football stadium, you can approach them if you are trying to join a walking football club or find sessions. 

Another option is to ask your local Football Association (FA) for guidance and to get connected to a club near you.

Walking football seeks to promote well-being and help the older generation lift their activity levels. 
walking football is good for health

The Walking Football Programme

In 2021 AgeUK and Sport England partnered up to launch the New Walking Football Programme

It aims to get older people involved in the sport and promote a safe and supportive environment for all players. 

It’s funded through investment from National Lottery players, which allows the programme to run and host sessions. 

Walking football seeks to promote well-being and help the older generation lift their activity levels. 

football focus

Keep your eye on the ball

Playing walking football regularly will not only make you feel more physically fit and active, but you’ll also join a sociable community.

Older people may experience loneliness, so team games like walking football can be a lifesaver for many who feel isolated. 

Most clubs will run frequent sessions, allowing people to keep busy and occupied in their twilight years. 

Joining a sports team can also build confidence and communication skills, which can be transferred to other areas of life.

How much does it cost?

Prices can vary depending on the county; however, on average, they are typically £4 per session. 

It’s best to contact your local sports club or council to find out the rate in your area. 

Depending on the region, some sessions may be offered for free or have block booking available to save you some money. 

It is a great cost-effective sport that can keep you occupied and allow you to attend whenever it suits you. 

sporty seniors

Physical health benefits

Although walking football may seem like an easy-going sport, it’s a great form of physical exercise that’s paired with some super health benefits. 

Your joints can get a proper workout, so if you have a condition like arthritis, walking football can help reduce joint pain.

Physical sports can also help with blood circulation and control blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart-related problems.

Keeping yourself active will also improve your motor and coordination skills, especially with a game that requires tactics and strategy.

Mental health benefits

This sport not only gets your blood pumping, but it’s also mentally stimulating for the brain.

It’s a social game and requires teamwork in order to win the match, which gives players a sense of accomplishment. 

Regular social interaction can lift serotonin and dopamine levels and give people the opportunity to make lasting friendships. 

The game also gives players and members a sense of purpose due to the addition of tournaments and playoffs.

beautiful game playing

Get stuck in with walking football

Joining a community-based activity like walking football is a great way to feel social and get physically fit. 

It’s a great form of therapy for anyone who has mobility conditions or joint pain, as it’s low impact.

Clubs provide an inclusive and fun space you are interested in joining, nothing is stopping you from having a go.

So, take a winning shot and try walking football, it’s a fun way to improve your well-being and get active.

 

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