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Walking game is great for all

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By Fiona Reid
Sport
Walking game is great for all

FOOTBALL fans in Wigtownshire, in their 40s and 50s, are being urged to join in the spirit of the Euros by joining a football team where players walk instead of run.

Walking football is played on a weekly basis by more than 3500 men and women at 150 affiliated clubs across the country.

The call to get back on the pitch or take up the sport as a first-timer comes from the UK’s largest arthritis charity, Versus Arthritis.

It says its non-contact rules and slower pace of life make it an excellent activity for people living with arthritis.

A third of adults in Scotland experience chronic pain through muscular skeletal conditions such as arthritis.

Charity spokesperson Gary Small set up the first walking football game at Stair Park, home of Stranraer FC.

He said Euro 2024 is a good time for people to encourage people with arthritis to consider taking up the sport.

Gary, who runs the Stranraer Walking Football team, said: “While we are cheering on our team in the Euros this seemed the ideal time to remind people that walking football is great way to walk it as well as watch it to improve physical and mental health for people living with arthritis.

“The idea that it is best to rest is outdated and ineffective. Being active is one of the best things you can do to manage arthritis symptoms.

“There is overwhelming evidence that physical activity not only improves joint function, reduces disease activity and improves cardiovascular health, but that it can also help with pain management and mental wellbeing.”

Among those on Gary’s team are his father, John Small, a former semi-professional footballer. He suffers with osteoarthritis and is currently on the NHS waiting list for a knee replacement.

Gary added: “The football doesn’t just help my father physically but mentally too. He’s been living on his own since his wife died a year ago.

“Once the whistle has blown, the team have a coffee and a chat and as part of the post-match analysis we go through some self-management tips and advice on living with arthritis.”

Anyone interested in joining a walking football club can contact [email protected] or [email protected]

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14th Jul

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