Dr Hilary Jones Discovers & Discusses The Basset & Gold Walking Football Tournament in Association With West Ham United

As a presenter and writer on medical issues, one of my main recommendations to patients over the age of 50 is to get plenty of exercise. To aid a longer life and better living, prescribing a specific amount of daily exercise to patients – particularly in later life – is important.

That’s why when I was approached to find out more about the Basset & Gold Walking Football Tournament, I didn't need to think too long and hard to figure out if this was an initiative I could support.

The Basset & Gold Walking Football Tournament, in association with West Ham United, is a slow-paced, non-contact version of the game aimed at the over-50s. What I found amusing was that free kicks are given against those who sprint or jog – a great deterrent. Walking football is designed to help people maintain an active lifestyle, regardless of age or injury.

Dr Hilary Jones is a GP, TV Presenter, Medical Broadcaster, Author and Public Speaker.
Dr Hilary Jones is a GP, TV Presenter, Medical Broadcaster, Author and Public Speaker.

Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and even depression, all at minimal cost and with virtually no side effects.

What appealed to me most about this activity was that it was not only supported by a forward-thinking company such as Basset & Gold, but that it was also backed by the West Ham United Foundation Walking Football Programme, which is part of a wider project part-funded by the Premier League, London Borough of Newham and Newham CCG.

With active commercial sponsors, Premier League backing and local authority support, this is a partnership that is attracting people who have enjoyed sport all their lives to once again safely get back to playing and also introduce the sport to people who perhaps have never considered playing before. I wholeheartedly support the Basset & Gold Walking Football Tournament and the West Ham United Foundation who have been working at the heart of some of the most deprived communities in the country. Their commitment to delivering life-changing services and supporting programmes in East London, such as the 150Club (recognised by BT Sports Industry Awards as 'Community Programme of the Year'), is having great success in attracting participants and changing people's lives.

The 150Club takes its name from the recommended amount of 150 minutes of exercise that people should take per week. The 150Club Newham Community Prescription programme works to prevent high rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Newham by helping people to stay healthy. The borough has the second highest predicted prevalence rate of Type 2 diabetes in England, with more than 24,500 of its residents currently diagnosed with diabetes. All inroads into tackling this crisis must be applauded and encouraged.

I look forward to tracking the progress of the Basset & Gold Walking Football Tournament over the coming season and seeing the health benefits derived within the local community.

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