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Football can be a walk in the park; Speed merchants need not apply to new fitness craze.

Byline: DAVID POWELL s

IT'S like football but not as we know it and speed kings like Arsenal's Robin Van Persie or Liverpool's Luis Suarez need not apply.

"Walking football" is a leisurely tweak on the beautiful game aimed at getting the over-50s fit and healthy.

Conwy Council which introduced the scheme has really scored with this novel idea even if the pace is a little, well, pedestrian.

Coach Melanie Burroughs said: "Walking football is a non-contact sport, specifically designed for people aged 50 and over. There is no upper age limit.

"Walking football has the same rules as normal football with one main exception - you can only walk.

"No running, no sprinting and no jogging, just walking.

"This new version of the game is a great way to keep fit, learn skills, have fun and socialise at the same time."

Former heart patient Malcolm Henderson, 79, of Llandudno Junction suggested the sport to Conwy Council and officials have picked up the ball and walked with it.

He said: "I thought it was a good form of exercise for people who had played normal football and were looking for something to do. It's not supposed to be too energetic and it keeps us oldies off the streets."

But then again the father-of-three and grandfather-of-seven, who is a retired entertainment and events officer for Vale Royal Borough Council in Cheshire, did have open heart valve repair surgery four years ago.

"I was encouraged to take on exercise by the hospital afterwards. Proper five-a-side football would probably make me feel a little bit exhausted."

Not that he is a shrinking violet when it comes to exercise: "I do gym on Wednesday, circuit exercises and tai chi on a Friday followed by table tennis. I go home reasonably shattered."

." ? The first full taster session starts at Llandudno Junction Leisure Centre starts on Monday, January 14. Kick off at 3.15pm-4.15pm. Sessions are free in a trial month until February 18 and it costs PS2 per player. For more details please contact Mel, Gemma or Neil at Llandudno Junction Leisure Centre on (01492) 577925
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 16, 2013
Words:351
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