Walking football can help people lose weight, help prevent loneliness and positively affect overall mental and physical health. Walking football has become increasingly popular over the last few years - and for good reason. Aimed at adults over 50 (although age inclusive), walking football has social, mental and physical health benefits.
In this section we will post articles related to health and well being.
Walking football is an increasingly popular, competitive sport and one of the fastest growing sports in England. This highly inclusive sport is suitable for all ages and abilities. Unlike many land-based sports, walking football is low impact making it ideal for getting people moving, improving fitness and building an active lifestyle. Older players globally experience lower resting heart rate, improved blood pressure, less fat, more muscle, and better mobility when compared to their less active counterparts . Players also benefit socially; termed the boredom buster, walking football allows players to meet new people or reconnect with old friends thus reducing both sedentary behaviour and isolation .
“Really enjoy it and a whole new group of friends...which in your 70s isn’t bad” [Quote from video]
Guernsey Walking Football currently has over 60 members, with 11 females and 49 males. This diverse group range in ages from 25 to 79 years and many live with a range of medical conditions. Medical conditions include, but are not limited to; joint pain, muscle pain, joint replacements, heart condition, breathing issues, asthma, crones and various forms of cancers.
“Everyone of all abilities can play against each other, we have players with physical conditions and mental health conditions. I love it!” [Quote from video]
Training takes places three times a week with each session lasting one hour. The frequency of training sessions ensures that players have multiple opportunities throughout the week to take part. There are on- and off-island opportunities for coaching and matches, allowing players to reach their full potential. The cost is highly affordable, with a free first trial session and then £5 per session thereafter.
Contributing to a Healthy Community
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, some cancers and depression . There is also growing evidence of the positive impact of physical activity on mental health and well-being. Whilst the benefits of physical activity are well documented, there is emerging evidence that sedentary behaviour, namely sitting, is a potential risk factor for physical health. With our aging population it is vital that we get active and stay active. Walking football is a safe and sustainable form of physical activity .
“Get out your armchairs and play” [Quote from video]
While the benefits of exercise are well known, individuals face many personal barriers. These barriers can range from a lack in confidence of their own ability to boredom in exercising. Guernsey Walking Football is a friendly environment and highly inclusive; it caters for all abilities and welcomes all genders. Walking football resonates well with individuals who like to be active whilst playing sport, as opposed to exercise (e.g. gym-based work out). The low impact and slower pace ensure that physical health conditions are not a barrier, while the skill required can improve cognitive function. The social components of the sport encourage adherence and player pathways are available for those who wish to progress in the sport, making it incredibly sustainable.
Guernsey Walking Football welcomes all individuals over the age of 18 years and while it has younger members the majority of players are over the age of 50 years. Generally, individuals over the age of 50 years are at a greater risk of isolation and have reduced social support networks. The walking football community provides a consistent support network through life stages such as retirement and marital bereavement.
“I lost my wife of 45 years last year, the support from the lads is what has helped me get going” [Quote from video]
Guernsey Walking Football contributes to a healthy community by providing a welcoming, affordable and safe sporting environment for individuals to get active and stay active. The player pathway ensures those who wish to progress in the sport are able to and the social component on and off the pitch support adherence to the sport. Guernsey Walking Football welcomes any support, whether it be financial or volunteered time, to ensure that they can continue to cater for the demand and continue to provide opportunity within the sport.
1. Reddy P, Dias I, Holland C, Campbell N, Nagar I, Connolly L, Krustrup P, Hubball H (2017) Walking football as sustainable exercise for older adults - A pilot investigation. Eur J Sport Sci 17 (5):638–645
2. Walking Football Scotland (2020) What is walking football [Link]
3. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelineson Physical Activity (2019)
All quotes in this document were taken from the Guernsey Walking Football Festival in 2019. All interviews were recorded and documented by Oliver Tracey, On Screen Creations.