Walking football, which was the brain-child of the Chesterfield FC Community Trust, will feature on ITV’s Tonight show next week.
The Ex-Spires walking football team will be shown next Thursday in The Truth About Exercise: Tonight.
Presenter Fiona Foster (pictured) attended an Ex-Spires session at The Akademy in Dronfield and spoke to some of the players. Among them was 78-year-old Eric Bagshaw, who took up walking football six years ago after being diagnosed with diabetes.
Eric talked on camera about the marked improvement in his health since he has been playing walking football. “I could feel myself getting stronger each week, and I just kept working at it, just loved it,” he said.
Taking up the story of when he faced a medical examination, Eric adds: “Doctor came down and he says, ‘Now then Eric, what you been doing this last six months?’
“So I said, ‘I’ve joined an exercise club, football.’ He says, ‘Brilliant, because what that’s done for you is fantastic. Your diabetes has gone, your blood pressure’s normal, your kidneys, your liver, your heart’s perfect. You’ve got the body of a 40-year-old man.’ Those were his exact words.”
Community Trust chief John Croot came up with the idea of walking football after the Trust received funding from the Football Foundation for a project called ‘Extra Time’. He explained: “It was around 2010/2011 when I went to a presentation before we put the bid in and one of the things said was to look for unusual activities which would be ideal for older people.
“The requirement was for something which would have low injury risk, cardio vascular benefits and help develop friendship groups. Coming back I was going through what had been talked about and I thought, ‘Why don’t we play football, but walk it?’
“I’m proud that walking football started here in Chesterfield and it’s great to see that it’s really taken off. As a measure of the interest in it world-wide, I’ve been interviewed about walking football by TV crews from Japan, Holland, Germany and France.”
The Truth About Exercise: Tonight is on Thursday, February 9, from 7.30pm to 8pm.