Soccer strollers all smiles as they mark first birthday in Stevenage

Stevenage walking football

Stevenage walking football - Credit: Archant

As a Stevenage walking football group gets ready to celebrate its first birthday more people are being encouraged to join up and get active.

Walking football is spreading in popularity because it puts the emphasis on skill and teamwork rather than pace and power.

It’s aimed at anyone who wants to improve their fitness but can’t play the full contact version of the game.

Stevenage FC Foundation’s Chris Page, who runs the sessions, said: “It is healthy and social. We are finding a lot of people come along to socialise, have a laugh and meet new people.

“One of the things they have mentioned about it is the relaxed atmosphere. You don’t have to be of a high standard, it’s just fun.”

The foundation is trying to get more women involved in the sport and supported This Girl Can in Herts – an initiative which encourages more women to take up sport – last week.

Chris said: “Walking football is not just a male sport. It is for both genders.

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“We’re also appealing to the older generation of female players who would have liked to have got involved with the game when they were younger, but couldn’t because there weren’t any teams for them back then.

“We are giving them that opportunity now which is great and it helps to keep them fit and healthy.”

To enforce the slower pace of the game, in walking football if a player breaks into a run while they are on or off the ball the opposing team is awarded a free kick.