The month of November is an opportunity to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer, with many groups growing moustaches and raising funds to fight the deadly disease. So, it was appropriate that the East Algarve Walking Football Festival at José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão, last week featured a dozen gentlemen from FC Prostata (Copenhagen) who had all recovered from prostate cancer.
Sponsored by Divine Home Real Estate, the festival was an undoubted success and included three teams from the Benfica Foundation (Lisbon) social awareness programme. The Eagles group included 14 ladies who certainly showed a deft touch or two as they strolled around the 3G astro-turf pitch.
Jan de Wee of Divine Home said: “It was a wonderful day helping people to maintain a healthy lifestyle but, more importantly, it engendered a true spirit of friendship despite the language barriers!”
A memorable day drew to a close with lunch at the Olhão Casa do Benfica where EAWF player, 73 year-old Mike Bristow, received a rendition of Happy Birthday in three languages!
Benfica ‘A’ won the John Mortimore Trophy with EAWF Olhão taking the runner-up spot but, very sportingly, handed their trophy to the Danish FC Prostata team in recognition of their battles against cancer.
Walking football offers a multitude of health benefits to older people such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke while improving blood pressure. Positive changes in postural balance, blood pressure and resting heart rate, lowered cholesterol, improved blood sugar levels, bone density and improving reactions, whilst slashing the odds of suffering from type 2 diabetes – all indicators of general good health. There are also many psychological and mental health advantages to playing walking football – namely high levels of personal reward and satisfaction with reduced levels of stress and exertion while playing, despite working physically hard.
Walking football also gives an often-isolated section of the community the chance to become involved in something they really enjoy, make new friends, form lasting relationships with like-minded people and generally improve their social circle and overall quality of life, often making them feel less isolated and more a part of the wider community.
Walking football, which boasts over a thousand teams in the UK, was introduced to the Algarve four years ago and now many international groups are discovering that the area is a fantastic place to visit. In addition, East Algarve Walking Football extend a warm welcome to all groups and recent enquiries have been received from Arsenal FC and Gibraltar.
By CHRIS WRIGHT