Walking Football kicks off
Walking Football kicks off
A group of North Lanarkshire walking footballers have completed their first competitive match as Team North Lanarkshire, facing up against a team from Stenhousemuir at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.
The team, comprising of over 50 year olds from the North Lanarkshire Area, was formed in March 2014 as a method of increasing physical activity among older people in the community.
Lead by North Lanarkshire Leisure, a handful of avid footballers from Airdrie Leisure Centre was joined by sports enthusiasts from the local area. Through community outreach by the North Lanarkshire Leisure sports development team, the handful turned into a considerable group and a weekly kick-about was created at Airdrie Leisure Centre
Playing under the watchful eye of a fully qualified SFA coach each week, the players have felt the physical and social benefits of being involved with the programme, with a number of social events taking place out with a football environment.
Walking football is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game which comprises of the same rules as standard football, except players are not permitted to run.
Team North Lanarkshire captain George Geddes, 66, from Chapelhall in Airdrie commented:
“I saw walking football on TV and said to my friends in the gym and everyone was interested in getting involved. We’ve all played football throughout our lives but we’re maybe not as mobile as we used to be, so this is perfect.”
“I was in a job for six years which involved a lot of sitting down and I put on weight on and my health deteriorated. I had a double-heart bypass in 2001 and walking football has helped me get back into activity, its great company as well.”
“It started off slowly but now everyone has come out of their shell and we’re looking forward to our first proper match. We’ll have our strips on and I’ll have all the tactics worked out for Thursday.”
Blane Dodds, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Leisure, said:
“At North Lanarkshire Leisure we believe there are no limits to your health and fitness goals. We are proud to offer a range of football activities for all ages and abilities throughout the community, from 18 months with our Mini Kickers programme to late 70 year-olds competing in walking football.
“A number of the players here today have had their lives transformed by taking part in walking football and we’re looking forward to giving more and more people across the area the opportunity to take part in the sport in the future.”
Councillor Jim Logue, Chair of North Lanarkshire Leisure, said:
“This is a great initiative, which encourages people to meet up regularly, take part in some light exercise and have a bit of fun. Our aim is to encourage people of all ages and all levels of fitness to get active, and this initiative is another great addition to the range of activities we promote.”
Walking football currently takes place every week at Airdrie Leisure Centre and plans are in place to expand the programme to Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility and The Tryst.
For more information on walking football with North Lanarkshire Leisure, visit http://www.nlleisure.co.uk/coaching-lessons/football and contact firstname.lastname@example.org.