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Veteran football team from Gravesend moves into the digital age

PUBLISHED: 12:13 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 19 January 2018

Ebbsfleet United�s Walking Football team. Picture: The Imageworks

Ebbsfleet United�s Walking Football team. Picture: The Imageworks

The Imageworks

A group of veteran football players from Gravesend have moved into the digital age - where every kick of the ball is monitored to record their fitness level.

Ebbsfleet United’s Walking Football team, made up of players aged 50 plus, are the latest to sign up Ebbsfleet Garden City’s healthy new towns digital movement project.

More than 100 residents and workers in the area have joined so far, and each is given a Fitbit to record their movements.

Data is used not only so the individual can keep an eye on their fitness levels, but also so that the project can see which walking and cycling routes are used, and if any improvements can be made.

It will also aim to find out if new routes can be created as the Garden City develops.

20 members of the team, who play in the Kent Walking Football League, will now be able to assess their fitness as well as compete with each other for bragging rights in the fitness stakes.

All aged between 50 and 70, the players enjoy a slower version of the game, where running concedes a free kick to the opposing team, and sliding tackles are banned.

The aim is to keep people over 50 who may find themselves unable to take part in the traditional game, due to lack of mobility or any other reason, involved in football.

Kevin McGeough, director of the healthy new towns project, said: “We’re encouraging all ages to keep active and get fit, and the Walking Football Team are a real inspiration to the over-50s.

“As well as the benefits of now being able to monitor their fitness levels, they’ll also be able to help us shape the future of the Garden City when they are off the pitch.”

Chris Judge, team co-ordinator for Ebbsfield’s walking football team, said: “We are delighted to support the Ebbsfleet Garden City’s initiative.

“The Fitbits will monitor our performance, as we are all very keen to improve our overall fitness levels and to see the improvements.”

To find out more about healthy new towns, visit ebbsfleetdc.org.uk/healthynewtowns/.

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