Much has been discussed about the drop off in physical activity levels as people age; over half of people aged over 65 don’t do the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Since 2011 however there’s been a sharp rise in the popularity for Walking Football, a sport specifically designed to help people remain active as they get older.
Spencer says: “Playing veteran’s football was taking its toll injury wise. I then found out an old friend was involved at Arsenal’s Walking Football Community side and decided to give it a go. From the first 5 minutes I was hooked and realised my football life had been extended indefinitely! I joined my local club Chelmsford City based at Melbourne Park and play most Tuesday’s from 10am until 12.00.
Without doubt walking football has given me an activity that fits my age and lifestyle perfectly. There are players in their 70s and even beyond benefitting from this fantastic form of the game. Ignore what you hear and forget what you’ve seen. The only way you will get to see what the sport is really about is to actually play it!
There’s no doubt physical activity is beneficial in so many ways and is a huge part of health and wellbeing. The physical benefits are clear and tangible; weight loss, improved cardiovascular fitness, muscular and bone density maintenance and improvement amongst others. However it’s also the mental wellbeing. When anyone stops playing a team sport, they miss the dressing room, team colleague interaction, the laughter and chat that is an integral part of such sport. So many people I have spoken with at club, county, and now international level have expressed their relief at finding these long-lost feelings again.
It’s difficult to put into words my feelings when I was initially selected for England, and then, within minutes given the additional news that I was to be captain of the over 60s side to face Italy. To become England skipper was amazing. Walking into the England dressing room and seeing the shirts hanging up before the Italy game was quite a moment, especially as the red shirt with 6 on the back was the same as my West Ham hero Bobby Moore wore in the 66 final.”
Spencer has this advice for every-one: “To anyone aged 50 + who simply want a new challenge and a genuinely exciting and interesting way to prolong a sporting life, then walking football could well be the answer. Why not give it a try for 3030Essex? You won’t look back!”.
Looking to watch some walking football?
European Championship’s, The Proact Stadium, Chesterfield
Dates: The weekend of June 8th and 9th
England V Wales/Spain/Holland/Portugal/Italy/Gibraltar and France