Walking football is a new trend that’s quickly spreading across the UK.

Image Right: derbyshireFA

The rules are exactly the same as regular 5-a-side football – the only difference is that you’re not allowed to run.

Peter Reddy of Aston University supports the emerging sport as an important healthy lifestyle choice. He added: “Older people’s football is especially valuable for men. Physically active men have a 20-30 per cent reduced risk of premature death and 50 per cent less chronic disease. But by the age of 55-64, only 32 per cent of men say that they take the recommended half-hour of strenuous exercise five times a week.”

This makes walking football the ideal remedy for inactivity and its related negative health issues.

And not only is it an excellent way to stay in shape, it’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends.

The affable yet competitive atmosphere within the game acts as a great social lubricant and the shared interest in football is ideal for bringing people together – a fact which is especially important since a lot of older people can become isolated and don’t get chance to see people their own ages as often as they should.

Another benefit of walking football is that it’s much more informal than your regular 5-a-side stuff. Many of the players have other commitments throughout the week so the stringent ‘if you don’t turn up every week, you don’t play’ approach just wouldn’t work.

Instead many walking footballers prefer one-off matches, mini-leagues and tournaments – allowing them to juggle family life and leisure time, while reducing the risk of fatigue and overuse injuries.

There are now clubs all over the country, with many traditional indoor/astro venues catering specifically for walking football, whether weekly or just for one-offs.

So if you’re interested in taking part in walking football it’s likely there’s already a club near you.

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