New exercise opportunity for the New Year

A new and exciting form of physical activity that is good for heart health has been brought to Galway by Croi in association with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI ).

Walking football as the name implies is just that, a slower version of soccer with bans on running and tackles.

Participation is steadily growing over the last six months in Galway city and county and it is hoped to develop a walking football league early next year.

Walking football is an initiative that engages people in a fun and motivating manner to facilitate increasing physical activity levels. It’s a non-contact form of exercise, played indoors and supervised by specialist physiotherapists and exercise specialists to ensure that it is safe and enjoyable for all abilities.

“It’s a very adaptable form of physical activity and can be played by all, at any level of skill and ability,” says Denise Dunne, a specialist physiotherapist with Croi.

Physical activity plays a major role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease with a 30 to 50 per cent cardiovascular disease (CVD ) risk reduction noted with the uptake of physical activity.

This is particularly relevant to those with existing health conditions which accounts for a significant proportion of premature deaths in Ireland. There is a clear need to prioritise interventions that tackle the underlying causes of these conditions, most of which are attributable to sedentary and inactive lifestyles.

Croi and the FAI have already started to deliver walking football to groups of individuals interested in improving their cardiovascular health throughout Galway city and county.

“Currently those participating in our walking football programmes are a very mixed group of men and women – many returning to exercise and physical activity after many years of inactivity and some taking the programme to help them lose weight, improve their diabetes control and improve cardiovascular fitness” says Ms Dunne.

“This is a unique programme as all participants undergo a specially tailored individualised fitness assessment in advance of participating and goal setting is specific to the individual participant.”

There will be a free Croi Walking Football demonstration from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday January 21 in Westside Community Centre. To register your interest and book your place contact the Croi Heart and Stroke Centre at (091 ) 544310.

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