So, what is Walking football? Put simply, it’s a slower version of the game, but just as beautiful.
Developed in Chesterfield in 2011 the game has taken on a whole new life of its own.
Designed to be played indoors and outdoors, the walking variant has been developed with the over 50’s in mind. Teams over 50, 60 and even 70 are competing throughout the country on a regular basis.
Helping to promote cardiovascular fitness, it prohibits both running, sliding tackles and general contact. This helps older participants, both male & female, to continue or restart physical activity in a responsible and safe way.
The game is inclusive, fun, energising and social.
In the couple of years I have been playing, I have met a great bunch of people from all walks of life. All with differing sporting abilities. But crucially, wanting to maintain or regain a level of fitness through a game loved universally.
In Bolton, where I live, there are at least three opportunities to play walking football.
At Burnden Park, the original home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, the games are organised by Third Space Café, a charity led by Guy Hampson which helps people get fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. Bolton Wanderers Community Trust run a session at Bolton Arena.
While Bolton Arena put on sessions of their own on various days of the week.
As previously noted, all sessions are friendly and inclusive. And all give opportunities to go one step further by competing in various competitions.
(Below is a picture of the Bolton Arena side after their triumph in the 2018 Lancashire Cup held in Fleetwood.)
The game is so popular now that there are county and international games organised. Leagues are popping up all the time. Many teams are making trips abroad to participate in tournaments in other countries, meaning the shackles are off when it comes to the growth of the game.
The clear message has to be that you’re never too old to participate in healthy activities that make you happy and feel good.
May the game continue to grow.