D.D.A. Salle1, R.U. Newton1, D.P. Heil, FACSM2

1 Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia; 2 Montana State University, Bozeman, MT USA

Walking football (WF) is a relatively new international sport that often focuses on middle-aged and older adults who still desire to play the walking version of competitive football (i.e., soccer) and be physically active. While previous research has documented the typical metabolic intensity of competitive match play WF for women and mixed (men and women) teams to be ≥3.0 metabolic equivalents (METs), the same data for men’s teams is more limited. PURPOSE: This study sought to observationally characterize the metabolic intensity of successive match play walking football events for one men’s team during two separate competitions. We hypothesized that metabolic intensity (i.e., METs) during match play would consistently exceed the 3.0 MET threshold for improving markers of physical health and disease risk. METHODS: The Singaporean men’s WF team was monitored during two international WF tournaments in 2019 (Mean±SD: 58±6 yrs age; 26.6±5.4 kg/m2 BMI; n=9) and 2023 (49±9 yrs; 27.4±6.7 kg/m2 BMI; n=11) using accelerometry-based activity monitors (AM). In 2019, AM monitoring occurred during seven successive 15-min competitive matches, all of which happened during a single day, whereas the team played eight 40-min matches across 3 days in the 2023 tournament. Predicted METs were derived from AMs worn by each player within each match using a tight-fitting neoprene waist pack. The AM data were later downloaded, transformed to units of energy expenditure, and then converted to METs using standard algorithms. A one-sample t-test was used to compare each mean predicted MET value to the 3.0 MET threshold and a Bonferroni corrected alpha of 0.007 (0.05 overall alpha) and 0.006 (0.05 overall alpha) for the 2019 and 2023 data, respectively. RESULTS: Average MET values for each match (across all players who played at least 50% of each match) for both the 2019 (3.9-4.4 METs; P<0.001) and 2023 tournaments (4.4-5.3 METs; P<0.001) exceeded the 3.0 MET threshold for every match, with 2023 mean values tending to be higher. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support previous research that the metabolic intensity of competitive walking football typically meets or exceeds the 3.0 MET threshold for promoting positive changes in both cardiovascular health risk and metabolic fitness.

Support provided by Edith Cowan University to the lead author.

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