Health and Wellbeing, Football
Mann’s Journey to Health and Community Through Walking Football
In an era where staying active and engaged with our communities is more important than ever, Nottingham Forest Community Trust’s walking football programme has emerged as a great way of getting the footy boots back on. It has proven that age is no barrier to maintaining physical fitness, nurturing mental wellbeing, and building strong connections within our communities. Mann Hans’s inspiring journey is a testament to the profound and lasting effects of community-based sports programmes like walking football.
For over two years, Mann has been a dedicated participant in Nottingham Forest Community Trust’s walking football programme. His journey began during the pandemic, a time when many of us found ourselves grappling with isolation, uncertainty, and disrupted routines. As we retreated indoors and distanced ourselves from those close to us, staying active and connected became increasingly challenging.
At 67 years old, Mann has had the privilege of a diverse career journey. It all began back in 1980 when he stepped into the classroom as a secondary school teacher in London. Later, fuelled by a thirst for knowledge, he pursued further postgraduate studies and embarked on a new chapter with BT. Over the years, Mann has worn many hats within the company, including an exciting stint working for BT in the USA, an adventure that unfolded 23 years ago.
Enter walking football, a modified version of the beautiful game that emphasises fun, camaraderie, and fitness over the traditional intensity of the sport. The sport’s key rule is simple but transformative: participants must keep one foot on the ground at all times, making running impossible and ensuring that the pace is gentle yet still competitive.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Mann’s journey is how walking football has significantly contributed to his physical wellbeing. This engaging sport has helped him maintain cardiovascular health and enhance his overall physical condition.
The controlled pace of walking football provides an ideal environment for individuals like Mann to exercise without putting undue strain on their bodies. It’s an excellent way to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility, all of which are crucial for maintaining independence and overall health as we age.
While the physical benefits of walking football are undeniable, walking football’s impact on participants’ mental and emotional wellbeing is equally profound. The social aspects of the programme have been instrumental in combating loneliness, anxiety, and depression – all of which were exacerbated during the pandemic.
Mann explains “I have found immense joy and purpose in staying active and engaged with my community. One of my favourite ways to do this is by participating in walking football at Forest Community Zone, nestled within the beautiful Forest Recreation Ground. It’s a sport that has not only kept me physically fit but has also connected me with an incredible group of individuals who share the love for the game.”
Mann continues, “I’m currently serving as the Captain at Beeston Fields Golf Club, an honour that coincides with our centenary year. It’s a remarkable milestone for our club, and we are deeply committed to giving back to our local community.”
Mann’s involvement in the walking football community has provided him with a support network that extends beyond the field. It’s a reminder that sports can be more than just a game; they can be a lifeline, a source of joy, and a means of connecting with others.
Mann Hans’s journey is a shining example of the transformative power of community-based sports programmes like walking football. They offer a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, combining physical exercise with social interaction and support.
As we navigate an ever-changing world, these programmes become even more critical. They provide a sense of belonging, purpose, and continuity in a time when everything else seems uncertain. Mann’s story reminds us that age is no barrier to staying active, healthy, and connected to our communities through the joy of sports.