Heart of Midlothian helped to launch the National Walking Football Network as part of UEFA Grassroots Day earlier this week.

The Hearts chairperson, Ann Budge, oversaw the walking football session at Tynecastle and was joined by former players Alan McLaren and Jimmy Sandison.

UEFA’s Grassroots Day is a celebration of the common link between the recreational and professional game.

Walking football is designed to help older adults maintain an active lifestyle, as well as getting those back playing football who had to stop due to injuries. Simply playing one hour a week for three months enables players to cover 30 miles and burn 4200 calories.

On average in Scotland, around 350 participants play walking football every week. This equates to around 2.5 million steps taken or approximately 1200 miles walked.

Walking football is supported by the SPFL Trust, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Age Scotland and Paths for All.

Jim Fleeting, Scottish FA Director of Football Development: “Walking football is a terrific and inclusive way of introducing healthy living and fitness to those people who have perhaps endured illness or injury, or perhaps those of us of a certain age who have maybe been unable to for whatever reason to balance fitness with their daily lives.

“It is also an excellent social initiative and the Scottish FA is proud to be involved in promoting participation in this area.”

Billy Singh, Walking Football Development Officer, Paths for All: “We are grateful to the Scottish FA, SPFL Trust and Heart of Midlothian for their support in promoting the health, fitness and social benefits of walking football. We will work together with our football partners, as well as SAMH and Age Scotland, to ensure as many people as possible can access walking football in Scotland.”