Walking Football – A Whole Different Ball Game

My local gym closed a few months ago to re-emerge under new ownership with new logos and an entirely new ethos which seemed to be targeted towards an atmosphere of austerity. All the windows were blacked out, the steam room and sauna have been removed and access may only be gained by means of a sophisticated and futuristic entrance involving individual pin numbers and rotating tubes. It seems that staff members are superfluous to requirements nowadays, because my efforts to contact someone to enquire about membership came to nothing. Website information reveals little, although there seemed to be a marked accent on areas dedicated to weights.

For the years that I was a member, I had a regular circuit of equipment including a ten or fifteen minute run on a treadmill looking out of a window at the passing traffic, people and weather, but it now seems that all windows are blacked out. To what end? To stop people looking in or to just save on window cleaning. You have to wonder if the new owners are focused only on the economics of running a gym rather than taking in the views (pun intended) of their members.

I was now in search of an alternative means of keeping fit, which is when I spotted a notice about ‘walking football’ sessions for the over 50s. At 68 years of age I felt I was well qualified to participate. The sessions were at the local village football ground, and since it had been almost twenty years since I had set (competitive) foot on a football field, I was very keen to get along. It only involved walking, didn’t it, so it wouldn’t be too strenuous. Would it? How wrong could I be. The intricacies of passing a ball at just the right pace to a teammate’s feet is quite a testing skill. Not to mention that, of course, you can’t run, and you can only touch the ball three times before passing, and the ball cannot go above head height. Not to mention you should always be on the move. Suffice to say that at the end of an hour I felt I had had more than a workout. I have now attended three sessions and feel fitter than I have for a long time. And I have actually bought myself a new pair of football boots. I would recommend this to anyone.

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