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Walking football popularity gets lockdown boost

Walking football popularity gets lockdown boost

Saturday 09 January 2021

Walking football popularity gets lockdown boost

Interest in walking football saw such an increase during last year's lockdown that the team will be kicking off the new year with additional sessions.

As islanders sought new ways to keep active during the pandemic last year, numbers attending the Jersey Football Association's hour-long 'Snickers Just Play' Tuesday lunchtime and Thursday morning sessions at Springfield Stadium grew, prompting the creation of a new Friday morning sessions.

While they won't start just yet due to current restrictions on outdoor gatherings, it's hoped they'll be able to kick off soon.

The sessions are open to all adults, with the majority of participants currently aged between 50 and 70-years-old. As well as fitness, players have players the mental health benefits and opportunities to meet new friends that walking football provides.


Pictured: Players have players the mental health benefits and opportunities to meet new friends that walking football provides.

“I went to the doctor for a check-up and he mentioned to me about this walking football,” player Dennis Hannaford said. “I thought, at 74 is it worth it, but I came along and tried it and it’s absolutely brilliant.

“You meet loads of friends, really good friends, and lose weight – I’ve lost nearly a stone since I started playing this game and I love it.”

Recent research by the Jersey Football Association found 88% of 'Just Play' participants felt happier since taking up walking football, while 92% felt stronger and fitter.

“It’s a great form of the game and we see so many players, now, that have the opportunity to play football that wouldn’t have had it ten years ago," Jersey FA Community Coach Jody Byrne added. "Exercise is great for your mental health and that’s the most important part for me.

“We’re really thankful to the Jersey Community Foundation for their support which has enabled us to put on this additional weekly session and get more islanders involved in our sport.

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