In June, we visited Ryburn United FC, where Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees have set up their very first walking football session for the people they support, and the general public too.
We paid them a visit to ask them why the session was important to them, and to see the impact it was having on residents.
What is walking football?
Walking football was invented in 2011 and is very similar to traditional football. There are 6 players, with absolutely no running or jogging allowed, light tackling only, and the ball must remain below head height. The accessibility of the game has made it a big success, it’s a great for people of lower mobility levels to enjoy all of the physical and mental health benefits of keeping active and playing as part of a team. Find out more about the game on the Walking Football Association website.
Why are Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees getting into walking football?
“We are delighted to be running our first ever Walking Football group. Months of being cooped up at home, long periods of inactivity, and the cancellation of social events have taken a toll on some older people’s fitness and reduced their ability to complete their everyday activities.
The reduction in activity has been disproportionately high among older people, leading in many cases to muscle weakness – clinically termed ‘deconditioning’. Without regular movement the muscles of older people can quickly lose strength and tire more easily, making recovery from illness far harder.” Lisa Butland, Chief Executive for Age UK Calderdale and KirkleesLisa Butland, Chief Executive for Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees
What was the impact of the session?
We spoke to some of the participants after the session, here’s what they said:
“Walking football has been brilliant, fantastic, really good for your mental health.”
“Get down and have a go. I’m 64 years old, and if I can do it, anyone can. “
“I find it is very good for me physically. I enjoyed it very much and I’m definitely going to come again”
“It has been brilliant, fresh air, meeting people, spot on”
If you’re looking to take up walking football, why not join the Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees session, or search for other sessions in your area.
If you are operating any form of walking sport sessions, or would like to start, we’d love to hear from you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can work together to help get everyone in Calderdale moving more.