A NEW and exciting form of physical activity that is good for heart health is to be brought to Mayo by Croí in association with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Mayo Sports Partnership. Walking football as the name implies is just that; a slower version of soccer with bans on running and tackles. Walking football is an initiative that engages people in a fun and motivating manner to facilitate increasing physical activity levels. It’s a non-contact form of exercise, played indoors and supervised by specialist personnel to ensure that it is safe and enjoyable for all abilities. “It’s a very adaptable form of physical activity and can be played by all, at any level of skill and ability” says Denise Dunne, Specialist Physiotherapist with Croí.
Physical activity plays a major role in the prevention and management of heart disease and stroke with a 30-50% reduction in the risk of these conditions noted with the uptake of physical activity. Recognising that heart disease remains our number one cause of death in Ireland there is a clear need to prioritise initiatives that tackle the underlying causes of these conditions, most of which are attributable to sedentary and inactive lifestyles.
Croí and the FAI have already started to deliver walking football to groups of individuals interested in improving their heart health throughout Galway city and county. “Currently those participating in our walking football programmes are a very mixed group of men and women – many returning to exercise and physical activity after many years of inactivity and some taking up the programme to help them lose weight, improve their diabetes control and improve cardiovascular fitness” says Dunne.
The FAI in Mayo see this initiative as a means of possibly reengaging ex members of soccer clubs back into the game and providing opportunities for them to have a bit of exercise and fun. “We in the FAI are delighted to be involved in this initiative and who knows maybe some participants might be interested in getting more involved in the game of soccer in Mayo” said Paul Byrne, FAI Development Officer for Mayo.
Mayo Sports Partnership also sees great possibilities for Men on the Move groups and other communities who may like to try out this new programme. “What I like about this initiative is that everybody will be able to participate no matter what their ability is and it is open to both men and women. I can see some of our Men on the Move groups adding this to their menu of activities in the coming months” Charlie Lambert, Sports Co-ordinator Mayo Sports Partnership commented.
There will be a FREE Walking Football demonstration on Wednesday 9th March from 6.30pm in Davitt College Sports Hall, Springfield, Castlebar.
All are welcome however booking is necessary for this demonstration night. To book your place, please contact Mayo Sports Partnership at 094-9047025.