Walking football is growing fast. Men and women across the country are finding a new lease of life by getting back onto the football pitch and playing this slower-paced form of the game. As the name suggests, no running or jogging is allowed in Walking Football, while tackles must be made without physical contact. This reduces the risk of injury, ensuring many can keep playing into their 70s and 80s.
Walking football offers a multitude of health benefits to older people such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke while improving blood pressure.
Starting in 2018, walking football has grown season on season in Devon. We now have 20 teams who compete in the Taking Care Devon Walking Football league, and have fixtures once a month throughout the footballing season. A finals day is then run at the end of each season, at Devon FA Headquarters in Newton Abbot. This is usually at the end of May.
We managed to catch up with two of our players in Devon, for their views on the game:
Stuart West from Newton 66 had this to say: “The enjoyment of playing walking football takes in all aspects of being involved in a sport that one loves and as followed from childhood. To actually to be buying boots and kit in your 60’s to wear yourself and not just buying it for grandkids is a great pleasure.. When sharing a full pitch with other clubs it’s amazing how age seems to disappear, with all age groups having a mutual respect for each other. Of course the thrill of scoring a goal or making a great save or tackle never leaves you. Also a huge thing that walking football helps is one’s mental health. I’m now a career for my mother and would interact with practically nobody if I didn’t play football .Its great to meet up with your club mates and have a chat and get out of the house and socialise with like minded people”.
Jim Eustice from Kingsteignton Legionnaires: “I got into walking football through former team mates and friends who were giving it a go. It’s great to meet new people, as well as link up with old team mates from years ago. As well as walking football keeping me fit and active, it’s great to be part of a team again, and all socialise together at training and after matches.”
Link to find Walking Football clubs near you