A NATIONAL walking football program has been launched, with the goal of delivering more than a million active hours for seniors over the next two years.
The government's Walking Football One Million+ scheme is being rolled out across the country, aiming to improve mental and physical health for seniors.
Walking football will start soon with full programs in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT. Pilot programs will also start in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Northern NSW.
There will be 110 hubs set up in the first year, growing to 148 in the second year.
As well as structured matches, activity coordinators will be appointed in each hub to advise participants on training exercises for home which include stretching and balance exercises.
Announcing the $1.8million program in Canberra on Wednesday, Minister for Youth and Sport and Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said walking football is a great initiative to help older Australians get more active, more often.
"Walking football is a game designed to expand participation among senior Australians who love their football or those who just want a fun new way to get active," he said.
"Walking Football is a great version of the game that can be played by the whole family, irrespective of fitness levels or football experience. It's non-contact and low-impact which makes it ideal for older Australians."
He said pilot progams have shown its a good way to make new friends and reduce social isolation, with many participants meeting up outside game times.
The program is part of the government''s $22.9 million Move It Aus - Better Ageing grants program, being delivered by Sport Australia to encourage older Australians to be more active.
Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said walking fwas adaptable and affordable.
"In the United Kingdom there more than 800 Walking Football clubs and we're optimistic Australians will love this modified version of the World Game too," he said.
For more information on Walking Football go to www.playfootball.com.au/ffa-walking-football
How it's played
- Running is not allowed. A participant always has to have one foot on the ground.
- It is non-contact
- The ball cannot be kicked above head height
- There is no heading of the ball
- There are no 'referees' as such and participation is prioritised over competition
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