“Football- It’s in Your Blood”—Lived Experiences of Undertaking Recreational Football for Health in Older Adults

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Physical inactivity is prevalent in older adults and contributes to age-related decline in function, health, well-being, and quality of life. Recreational football for older adults has shown promise for promoting health benefits. This study explores the lived experiences of older adults engaging in a walking and recreational football intervention and identifies factors that affect behaviours and can encourage change in this population. A purposive sample (n = 14; aged 67 ± 5 years) of the lived experiences of those participating in a recreational football intervention took part in two focus groups. The participants’ responses were grouped into three-time reflecting specific points in their lives: what stopped them from playing football, what got them playing, and what is needed for them to continue playing in the future. Within each of these time points in their lives, themes were identified. The key findings and practical recommendations were that football needs to be adapted and local, that the priority to play football changes over time, and that football itself is a fundamentally intrinsic motivator; ‘it’s in your blood’. The findings can be used to inform future interventions, encourage participation, and advise on the best practices for key stakeholders in the physical activity domain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14816
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Erasmus + Sport programme of the European Commission (Eramus+ Sport project/603552-EPP-1-2018-1-FI-SPO-SCP).


  • behaviour change theory
  • health
  • older adults
  • physical activity
  • walking football

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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