Walking Cricket aims to push the boundaries for exercise in Leicestershire

Walking Cricket is designed for all those looking for a slower pace of the popular pastime.

Health campaigners in Leicestershire hope a new version of cricket will bowl over those looking for a fun and friendly way of getting fit.

Walking Cricket is designed for all those looking for a slower pace of the popular pastime – with dedicated sessions set up for the over 50s who may be stumped for ways to exercise and may be missing out on their sport of choice.

Fully qualified coaches will be provided by the Leicestershire County Cricket Club and it is being supported by the Leicester Changing Diabetes programme to get people more active, lose weight and drive down the number of type 2 diabetes figures in the area.

Sunny Rohit, Project Officer at the Centre for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Health, who is organising the cricket sessions, said: “Walking Cricket is a slower paced, indoor format of the game which is ideal for men and women aged 50 or older. It’s a great way to indulge in your favourite sport and increase exercise levels, but at the same time allowing participants to take things at a little bit more of a relaxed speed.

“We’re very excited about providing this opportunity to people who may have let their fitness levels slide over the years and might have previously thought playing cricket was now completely out of the question.

“Anyone is welcome – whether you’ve played cricket before or not. We want this brand-new Walking Cricket programme to be fun, active and for everyone to enjoy meeting new people, while participating in some gentle exercise.”

The weekly sessions will run every Friday from 10.30am to 12pm from September 14 at the Leicester Arena on Charter Street and costs £2.50. Free parking on site is available and spaces are limited so will be accepted on a first come, first come basis.

A 12 week programme called Healthy Goals Another is another sport-related initiative being launched in the area to target people’s overall wellbeing.

The new group, which starts on Thursday, 20 September, will take place at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre.

Set up by the Leicester City Football Club Community Trust, in collaboration with Leicester Changing Diabetes and Active Leicester, it aims to encourage attendees to meet new people, learn about health and take part in fun physical activities organised by the football club. Each session costs just £1.

Leicester Changing Diabetes is a partnership programme with Novo Nordisk and the Leicester Diabetes Centre based at Leicester General Hospital. The global initiative Cities Changing Diabetes was created by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and was launched in response to the dramatic rise of diabetes within urban areas.

The Leicester Diabetes Centre – a partnership and collaboration between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester – is an international Centre of Excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation and is led by Professor Melanie Davies CBE and Professor Kamlesh Khunti.

Professor Davies CBE, Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre and Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “As part of the Leicester Changing Diabetes programme we are continually seeking new ways to introduce healthier lifestyles to people in a bid to drive down type 2 diabetes numbers, as we already know the condition is associated with poor diet and lack of activity.

“Encouraging people – of all ages – to exercise is extremely important, which is why we are proud to support and promote both the Walking Cricket and Healthy Goals initiatives as we firmly believe we need to help empower people, so they can start to take better care of their health.”