Written By: Shahrom Asmani (ex-football reporter for a few magazines and newspapers)
39-year old Football Crazy Person has been in love with football ever since he attended Singapore National Team’s matches at Kallang Stadium in the roaring 80’s. Has been a goalkeeper for a good part of the decade for a variety of teams but joined WaF4H last year because of the team’s mission and values.
WaF4H does not only allow participants to play football, holistically the team concentrates on various other aspects as well such as food, nutrition and personal well-being. Hopefully WaF4H can lengthen this writer’s career, be it in the football field or in the part-time writing arena as well.
Benefits of Walking Football (part 1)
Walking Football4Health is a health through fitness empowerment that gets people to start moving and play football in a fun and friendly atmosphere, regardless of age or health condition.
The movement was started by Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist Dr Dee Dee Mahmood.
Walking football was introduced by her to a small group of female players some time back as a research project for Dee Dee to collect findings and present the health data to the Science community. More importantly, it served as a research initiative under her work as an Associate Adjunct Senior Lecturer and Regional Head for Raan ECU, Edith Cowan University, Australia.
Her success in the program enabled her to start a mens’ team in 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Not only has the movement gotten bigger in Singapore, the team has played many friendly exhibitions and international matches that had gotten widespread media coverage.
Walking football can owe its success to the innovators at United Kingdom, who started the program for males over 50 to be involved in a community kickabout rather than living a sedentary lifestyle. The success it has garnered not only in UK, but in other parts of the world as well, has shown that male football players are not just about hanging their boots yet just because they are above the age of 40.
There are so many positives one can take away from such a program.
Take for instance Walking Football4Health (WaF4H) Head coach Masazhari Yayit.
2006 was the year that Masazhari, better known as Kecik, got a big scare because he could not move his body easily after waking up one morning.
“The doctor told me that I had slipped disc and an operation could be 50-50,” Kecik recounted.
“However, he told me that since I was still quite young, I can start to exercise regularly and try to cut down on my smoking,” Kecik added. And he did.
Due to his busy work schedule, Kecik did not manage to find the time to exercise regularly. But thanks to Dr Dee Dee’s guidance, advise and Kecik’s motivation to change his own lifestyle, the head coach is much more sprightly nowadays as compared to a decade ago.
Kecik (right) and Malaysian Legend Soh Chin Aun Sparring in an International Walking Football Match
Benefits of Walking Football (Part 2)
It is never easy to bounce back from a major injury.
Especially for a football-crazy person like 41-year old Masykur Bin Abdul Malek, who has been playing football all his life.
This WaF4H’s Head Coach has played for many teams, even for teams that is just one rung lower than the professional teams that ply their trade in the old S.League.
However, as fate would have it, Masykur suffered a debilitating injury that made him feel depressed for quite some time.
Masykur suffered from cervical myelopathy condition nearly a decade ago. The condition happens when the cervical spinal cord is compressed. He was not able to move, let alone walk properly.
However, after being treated by specialist doctors and undergoing a specialized rehabilitation program designed by fitness research specialist Dr Dee Dee Mahmood, Masykur was able to participate in the Walking Football program on 2017.
Imagine his delight to be able to score his very first goal ever after not being able to play the sport that he loved for many years. And imagine his delight when it was scored on foreign soil.
WaF4H took part in a Walking Football Match against the Malaysian Legends team in May 2018.
Coach Masykur scored WaF4H’s only goal in the 2-1 loss, something that he really cherished till this very day.
He fondly remembered, “I was very happy to have scored the goal against the Malaysian team.”
“That was the very first goal that I scored after having not played for a few years due to injury,” Masykur said.
Masykur Training Hard to Play Competitively
It definitely won’t be his last goal as well. Looking at the progress made in terms of his health improvements, Masykur is making huge strides in his health, one simple walk at a time. In 2019, he started being able to run in short bouts and is able to jump lightly without losing his balance. And exciting news! He played in a soccer match recently - well, more on that in our next feature coming out soon. Wait for it!
Walking football has changed lives for many. What is stopping you?
If you can walk, you can play walking football! Come join us. We train every Sundays!About Dr Dee and Walking Football4Health:
Walking Football4Health 2019 in Review