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Over 50s can bend it like Beckham at Long Sutton leisure centre

Walking football is a great game for the over 50s.
Walking football is a great game for the over 50s.

Grans and grandads who boast of once bending it like Beckham can rekindle old skills on the pitch now walking football has come to Long Sutton.

Peele Leisure Centre is encouraging the over 50s to get involved in sport, inviting men and women to give walking football, badminton and indoor cycling a go.

Walking football - action on the pitch.
Walking football - action on the pitch.

And that could turn the tables with grandchildren cheering on from the touchline rather than the other way round.

Walking football – as the name suggests – is played at a steady, walking pace but those old skills are still needed to put the ball in the back of the net.

Games of badminton are played at a social level, rather than a fast and furious pace, and there’s time to chat on court.

Spinning classes (indoor cycling) will be introduced for members of the Little London sports centre from December 4 and from January 3 for non-members

Bosses at 1Life, who run the leisure centre, point to research by the British Heart Foundation that shows people aged 65 or more need to do exactly the same amount of exercise as 19-year-olds.

That means, in order to stay healthy, older people should exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week, but opt for low-impact activities.

Leisure centre general manager Natasha King accepts some people might be daunted at the prospect of joining a leisure centre late in life but says the rewards are massive both in terms of health and in making new friends.

She said: “We want to help the older generation to exercise – and feel better – and to combat loneliness.”

Exercise releases “happy hormones” called endorphins which can calm anxiety and lift our mood. Exercise can also improve our memory and help us to sleep better.

One of the older customers said: “I took up badminton at the centre and I feel alive! I feel great and I have met some lovely like minded people. What’s more I am sleeping much better and my blood pressure has improved.”

• Walking football sessions are held from 11am to midday on Mondays while badminton is played on Thursdays, with sessions running from 11am to 2pm.

For more information call Peele Leisure Centre on 01406 366900 or visit www.1life.co.uk

Are you a member of the older generation playing an active sport – or is there a sport you would like to become available for people of mature years.

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