walking Football helps heart attack survivor get back on feet
Ian Towers – “I never thought I would play football again, a sport I love, but this has given me an opportunity to relive my youth.”
Walking Football has hit Cheshire East by storm with groups forming in leisure centres across the region, some even forming leagues and competing nationally. This internationally recognised game is helping the over 50’s get out and get active and even helping those with health concerns and conditions recover quicker and become fitter. So what is it about Walking Football that is getting the over 50’s so excited and keen to lace up their boots every week to play the game?
We caught up with Ian Towers, 59 from Mobberley in Cheshire who last year suffered an unexpected heart attack. He now plays walking football every Monday morning at Wilmslow Leisure Centre and is keen to encourage more men like him to take up the sport.
“I never saw myself as a candidate for a heart attack. At the age of 58 I was fit and healthy, wasn’t overweight or a smoker, but early one Friday evening last summer (2015) that’s just what happened. One moment I was washing the car in preparation for an evening out, the next I was being “blue lighted” to Manchester Royal Infirmary where I was taken straight into theatre, then following a brief spell in Intensive Care I was transferred to the acute cardiac unit at Macclesfield Hospital.
At first I lost all confidence and was afraid to tackle anything too strenuous. Then I was given information about the hospital’s cardiac rehab programme, based at Wilmslow Leisure Centre. Over the next few months my confidence and (a degree of) fitness returned, so when I heard that the Centre was starting walking football sessions I was keen to give it a go. It’s been a great decision. I never thought I would play football again, a sport I love, but this has given me an opportunity to relive my youth a little – though that may be more in my head than on the pitch!
We spend an hour every Monday morning, from 9 until 10, playing walking football and have a really good time. The leisure centre’s football coach, Alex Salmon, gives us drills and supervises our games and is inspirational to us all. Afterwards, some of the guys head straight off home or back to work etc, though several of us stay behind to have a coffee and a chat together in the centre’s cafeteria.
I cannot claim that my football skills have been honed to the point where Premier League managers are knocking at my door, but that’s not the point. We are a group of like-minded men of a certain age who enjoy a kickabout. I feel fitter for playing each week, but it’s more than that. It’s a game that has to be thought about. The fact that you’re walking doesn’t mean its lacking tactics, so it gets the old grey matter going too. There’s a sense of exhilaration at the end of each session. I have made new friends and we enjoy our chats after the sessions.”
“It isn’t compulsory to have had a heart attack before you take up walking football!”
“The participants span all walks of life, all levels of ability and are aged from guys in the 50’s to some in their 70’s. Several have played the game in days gone by, others haven’t. Just taking part and having fun is the main thing. Sessions last for an hour, but we take regular breaks as it’s really good exercise.
I would recommend that anyone over the age of 50 who has an hour to spare on Monday mornings should come along and give it a go. They might surprise themselves!”
Want to have fun? Improve your health? Socialise with friends? Then come and join us for Walking Football at an Everybody centre near you! No previous experience required, just enthusiasm to enjoy an hour of fun! To book, contact your local leisure centre (details below) Cost: £3.00 per session
MONDAYS 9.00-10.00pm – To book your place contact: 01270 685782
WEDNESDAYS 6.00-7.00pm – Contact Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre on: 01477 689552
Wednesdays 10.00-11.00am – Contact Crewe Lifestyle Centre on: 01270 685580 or email: [email protected]
Mondays 3.00-4.00pm & Wednesdays 3.45-4.45pm. Contact Barony Sports Complex on 01270 685565 or email: [email protected]
Tuesdays 8.30-9.30pm – Contact Tel: 01565 653321 or email: [email protected]
Mondays 6.30-7.30pm contact – Phone: 01606 271877 or email:[email protected]
Thursday evenings 8.30-9.30pm – contact phone: 01625 383981 Email:[email protected]
Wednesday evenings 3.15-4.15pm – contact Phone: 01625 876442 E-mail:[email protected]