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Walking Basketball: works!

Walking Basketball (WB) is a great low-impact cardio exercise for all.  


Some of our players record their statistics on wristbands and average 3,500 steps in a 60 minute session and burn approximately 500 calories in that time.   This fun sport is a walking version of the running game we all know and love.  However, the rules are designed to keep people moving up and down the court at a safe pace. 

Walking Basketball started for those aged over 50 and it has proved extremely popular.  However, we are working with other groups including businesses for team building, post-pregnancy Mums, people in rehabilitation programmes, a variety of age ranges and physical/learning disabilities, those with mental health issues and in many Leisure Centres we have become part of their Exercise Referral schemes.  

In fact we feel Walking Basketball is suitable for all ages, all sizes and all abilities and it’s fun!  We are finding that our players get hooked on the game and love the sense of camaraderie that individual games just don't have.  The social side is just as important for these groups as the taking part in sport. 

We run local, county and national tournaments for those who would like to take part.

We were proud to have Great Britain player Andrew Lawrence playing WB in our Surrey Sports Park sessions as a form of rehab after his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) operation.  He is convinced that he got back to the running game sooner than expected because of the movement he achieved through playing with us and psychologically he just loved being back part of the game.

Sessions tend to last at least an hour, starting with a gentle warm up which comprises of drills and hoop shooting practice.  We play a game of four quarters, with plenty of time outs/water breaks if required.  The session ends with a warm down.

Quotes from a couple of our players.

Jan Paton:
“Having completed my chemotherapy, my oncologist was very keen for me to regain my fitness and WBB provided me with the perfect opportunity to do so. Don't be fooled by the 'walking' I have never burned so many calories in such a short space of time! and all whilst having such a great laugh amongst new friends of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. I had never played basketball before but it is so easy to pick up and the fabulous coaches make sure that we all play to our best abilities. I was hooked within the first few minutes!!” 

Richard Hughes (former basketball player): “I really enjoy Walking Basketball. It is great to be back on court after so long. 

Everybody seems to enjoy it, it is great fun and good exercise. 

The game is surprisingly good, considering most players are beginners.

All in all, I had a great time with some nice people and it is very rewarding.”

Walking Basketball are working closely with the Basketball Foundation and the British Basketball League (BBL).  Many of the BBL teams run Walking Basketball sessions themselves.  We are also working with Basketball England as well to involve as many people as possible in this great sport and to get the inactive, active.

Website: walkingbasketballuk.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wakingbasketball

Twitter: @walkingbball

Email: bridget@walkingbasketballuk.com

Blog moderated by Ann Gates CEO Exercise Works!


Exercise and anxiety- how to get started and continue.

Exercise and anxiety and depression prescription sheet by Ann Gates.

Available under licence for commercial use. All world wide rights copyright 2012-.


Phil- a patient's story.

Phil has muscle depletion on his right side and finds walking and balance difficult. He is dependent on a frame but as a tall man (1.93m) this is causing him to become kyphotic, as the frame is too small for his height. It has also caused him shoulder discomfort and Phil therefore uses a wheelchair most of the time.

Before his accident Phil was a keen cyclist and enjoyed keeping himself active. During his rehabilitation Phil’s goal was to get back on to a bike and use a treadmill. Initially, when Phil came to the gym, we were restricted to what we could do for him, focusing mainly on upper body resistance. We had received some funding to purchase a YouBike, which is used primarily by stroke patients, and while Phil was able to use this biomechanically it wasn’t suitable for him as Phil’s leg naturally falls to the right, which made it uncomfortable for him to pedal.

We receive many patients on to the exercise referral scheme who have complex needs, and it became apparent that there was a requirement for specialist equipment which could both support the user and be adapted individually. I visited and researched what was available in hospitals and private clinics, and was impressed with the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike and the anti-gravity treadmill. These two pieces of equipment not only offer beneficial opportunities for rehabilitation but also the opportunity for those with neuro-muscular conditions to be able to become physically active, a very appealing combination! However, they are very expensive pieces of equipment which you would not normally expect to find at a centre managed by a non profit distributing organisation and registered charity such as SLL. But, our customers inspired me to begin fundraising; we were fortunate to win a successful bid from The Big Lottery, we received generous donations from both local charities and the public, we organised a charity ball and various sponsored events which enabled us to be able to purchase an FES bike and put a £10,000 deposit towards the treadmill; the balance is being paid as we raise more funds.

Phil was our first customer to use the treadmill; we hadn’t mentioned to him that it was being delivered and his carer brought him in to our open day when we invited the community to come and try or see the equipment in use. Sporting the not so glamourous shorts which resembled Wallace and Gromit’s ‘Wrong Trousers’, we zipped Phil into the air tight ‘skirt’ of the treadmill. The treadmill calibrated his weight and we set Phil at 45% of his body weight which gave him plenty of support. Very slowly we increased the speed to 0.4 kph and a gradient of 4% to allow heal strike on the belt. The smile on Phil’s face was amazing, a big thumbs up and a quote “You haven’t made my day, or my month, you’ve made my life, I’m walking on a treadmill!” He (and us) didn’t think this would ever be possible, but the treadmill has changed his life. He is able to walk with perfect posture and to his full 1.93m! He is able to take long strides where normally he shuffles, he feels socially included within the gym because we have integrated the anti-gravity treadmill alongside the regular treadmills. Phil really looks forward to his gym sessions; he can now do what everybody else does, which is just how it should be.


Blog by

Juanita Prescott Corporate Health and Wellbeing Manager Stevenage Leisure Limited with permissions and confidentiality agreed.