Walking Football: taking off very fast
Walking Football is fun and good for the health, and is part of the leisure element developed by the French Football Federation (FFF).
Kylian Mbappé will probably never in his life be able to repeat the legendary speed, measured at 33 km/h, that he attained against Argentina during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Like all footballers he will probably have to call a halt to his professional career one day. But he will be able to take advantage of the FFF’s leisure element to carry on playing.
The FFF has been proposing various forms of football to its clubs and members for several years, with ways of playing football which do not follow the normal competitive format and are based primarily on fun and enjoyment, in line with FFF values. One of these, walking football, is taking off very fast indeed.
“A game for everyone”
You might think that football and walking are poles apart. However, walking football is a distinctive way of playing with benefits that are often underestimated. Walking Football was devised in Britain and is played with a reduced team on a small pitch. As its name implies, players are not allowed to run or tackle. The ball must never be kicked above hip height and only three touches are allowed. Walking Football is easy to set up, because it does not need much equipment and space or many players.
Another big advantage of walking football is that as it produces very little stress on the body, it allows people who are physically disadvantaged to keep fit and even to confront their health problems. This is a major asset when it is remembered that physical inactivity is responsible for 10% of all mortality in Europe each year . Any physical activity, even walking, can prevent diseases and can reap benefits for people suffering from chronic conditions (for example: diabetes, cancer, rheumatism). Walking Football is also the chance to come out of isolation and meet friends and get rid of stress.
For the players it means being able to participate in a truly physical activity while having fun and sharing good times with teammates. Originally designed for older people, walking football has turned out to be accessible to everyone. Even better, it is a genuinely inclusive sport which allows all sorts of people (old people, persons with a disability, women) to enjoy football.
32 clubs affiliated to the FFF offer walking football, with new sections opening every year. Tournaments are organised at the international level. Nothing seems to be able to stop the advance of this new football.
 WHO Europe 2016