Walking Football

We knew Landon Donovan's career was winding down when he wasn't named to the most recent U.S. World Cup Soccer Team. After he retired in 2014, everyone assumed his competitive playing days were over. However, in the U.K., something interesting is happening in the world of amateur soccer. The Brits call it "Walking Football," and it has taken the country by storm. It's designed for men and women (there are "mixed sex" teams) in their 50s 60s and even 70s who like to go out and have a friendly, but competitive, kick-about.

Established in 2011, Walking Football has slightly flexible guidelines: The field is roughly a third the size of a regulation soccer field (between 15-30 yards wide and 20-40 yards long); you use a slightly smaller, indoor ball; substituted players are allowed to return; no contact or side tackles allowed; you can walk briskly; and the penalty for sprinting, running or jogging is a free kick for the other team. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work up a sweat!

A British Journal of Sports Medicine study IDs the health benefits for people joining walking groups: reduced blood pressure, body fat, body mass index, resting heart rate and total cholesterol. And Walking Footballers? Last year, the Surrey Walking Footballers collectively covered a total of 6,412 miles - and this year over 175 players will take part. Let's hope this sport walks across the pond soon. Maybe Landon Donovan could get the ball rolling. Brilliant way to get in 10,000 steps a day!

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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