The Capital Football Walking Football Summer Competition is a fun and social small-sided version of football for all skill and fitness levels to keep a healthy body and mind.
If you are over the age of 45 and looking for a sport that is like football but not so physical, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to keep your body moving in the upcoming summer season.
Alison Hurd, Capital Football’s Walking Football coordinator has recently moved from Sydney after starting up the program in her previous association.
She is passionate about spreading the word about the sport and is hoping to appeal to those that prefer a more tactical and less physical version of the game but still gets the heart rate up.
“Anyone can play it. Basically, it is a low-impact, team-based exercise, utilising the defined ‘Walking Football Rules and Formats’ specifically non-contact with the players ‘always having one foot on the ground’,” Alison said.
“It’s a modified format of a small-sided football game catered towards older participants. It’s supposed to be really fun, pretty chill, and really good for exercise.
“People are surprised generally by how tired you get doing it, I was when I first started playing it that’s for sure. It’s a social and inclusive community, it’s good vibes.”
Along with its fun perks, Walking Football holds two main benefits for participants, with the first being fitness.
The second benefit is positive mental health impacts as a result of creating friendships, keeping active, and playing as a team.
“Especially as people get older, they generally are less and less active and they feel like there are less opportunities to be part of a team sport,” Alison said.
“Team sports obviously comes with that social and community aspect as well, so it’s about giving people a home in a different environment.
“As we know, keeping your physical health is excellent for your mental health. It’s a really good environment for people to check in on their mental wellbeing.”
Last year, the popular summer competition generated sixteen teams and Alison is hoping to see even more players registered this year for Hawker Football Centre’s 6v6 competition.
Alison strives to squash the stigma of getting too old to play a sport or thinking there is not a league out there available to join.
“I definitely think people hit a point where they’re like “I’m too old to do this” for sure, but the oldest participant I’ve had so far is 79,” she commented.
“For me, it’s one of those things that, when it’s run properly and is about safety and inclusivity at its core, it’s fun whether you’re 4 or 94.”
A goal for Alison is to generate enough interest to different divisions so everyone feels they are correctly suited to the level they are playing in.
“I would like to have age and intensity divisions to bring Canberra’s competitions in line with other states,” she revealed. “To begin with, having a social and competitive division and ideally a Women’s division as well, would help people feel like they’re in their own element and eliminate some of the intimidation new players sometimes feel when first jumping in.
“That would be the goal if we get enough numbers. Sometimes it’s a little daunting at first but I’ve had so many people that aren’t even from a football background that are just looking for a sport or something to do that’s a bit different.
“The people are so welcoming, they’re there to help you out and teach you the rules, they’re really considerate of new players coming in, it’s quite wholesome actually.”
If you do not have a team, you can register as an individual and Alison and the people at Capital Football can place you in a team. The community is more than willing to welcome new players with open arms.
The summer season begins on Wednesday 12 October 2022 and runs until Wednesday 15 March 2023 with games starting from 6:15pm. It is a mixed competition played at the Hawker Football Centre for participants over the age of 45 (no experience necessary), and costs $135 for 16 weeks.
There is an expression of interest form available here to register your interest in the Walking Football Summer Competition.
Words: Sonia Emanuel