Walking football improves physical and psychological wellbeing
A group of Wigan Athletic supporters are giving men over the age of 50 an opportunity to play football and take part in physical activity on a weekly basis.
Wigan Walkers Football Club, formed in September 2014, hosts training sessions each Monday and Wednesday at Wigan Soccerdome, and competes in various tournaments across the North West and beyond.
Latics fan Barry Worthington, member of Wigan Walkers Football Club, said: “Things have been going very nicely over the past couple of months with our Monday and Wednesday sessions increasing in numbers, which has been great to see. We want as many men as possible to get involved and to get some fitness back in their lives.
“We recently won the Cheshire League which consisted of eight weeks of matches and have been entering a number of tournaments so things are looking bright for the club. We’ve entered a tournament in the Algarve in March so we’re taking our name overseas to see how we get on over there - we’re all really looking forward to it!”
To celebrate Wigan Athletic’s ‘Together Week’ last November, Craig Davies and Luke Garbutt, two of Latics’ first team players, visited the Walkers to take part in a training session, and Barry admits enthusiasm has grown ever since their visit.
“The visit from the players a couple of months ago was just fantastic, as it allowed us to pit our wits against professional footballers. We now have over 20 men in attendance at our sessions on a Monday and over 30 on a Wednesday.
“What’s so important to us is the team ethic. It creates a positive vibe for everyone when we play. We all want to get together each week and it’s absolutely brilliant.
“On a personal level, walking football has helped to keep my fitness levels up and has kept me entertained. It gives me a purpose each Monday and Wednesday and I just love it.
“I’ve started to take an active role in the club and it’s given me something to focus on so I’ve got my mind going too. I’ve recently been named the Media Officer for Wigan Walkers so it’s going to be my responsibility to set a website up for the club.
“The game has allowed so many of us to rediscover that bond we all had with our football clubs when we were young boys growing up.”
Discussing the benefits of walking football, Barry added that the physical and psychological wellbeing of the players has improved immensely, with a number of players now enrolling on coaching and refereeing courses.
“We’ve had a couple of guys who have had a really, really tough time of things over the past few years and were feeling quite low, but they’re now a massive part of the club and their self-esteem levels have just boosted phenomenally.
“The group we have are so keen that we’re sending men of 65 years of age and more on coaching courses and refereeing courses so that they can get their badges done. It’s truly remarkable and these guys are actively putting their hands up to get involved in such opportunities.”
For more information about Wigan Walkers Football Club, please email Barry Worthington on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through ‘Together’.
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