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R U OK Day with Whittlesea U3A

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

WHITTLESEA U3A will participate in R U OK Day on Thursday, hosting a range of activities to promote social interaction and community connections.

Set to be hosted in Epping, the day will feature tennis, tai chi, golf and walking football, a variant of soccer aimed at promoting social connections rather than competition, while keeping participants healthy and active.

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The R U OK Day activities have been organised through a collaboration between Whittlesea U3A, YMCA Leisure City in Epping, City of Whittlesea council and DPV Health, and information tables from all contributing groups will be available throughout the day.

Walking football program leader Mick Trim said the sport was not only good for physical health, but also the mental health of participants.

“It’s been found that walking football helps with mental health, so we thought it’d be a good idea to link it with R U OK Day because it all ties together,” he said.

“Holding R U OK Day activities has sort of grown from an idea to showcase the mental health benefits of walking football and get more people involved.”

Walking football originated in the United Kingdom as a version of soccer with no running and no contact, aimed at encouraging people to get out and be active while avoiding isolation and strengthening social connections with like-minded people.

Whittlesea U3A currently has about 40 people participating in weekly walking football sessions, with the activity aimed at all people aged over 50 regardless of ability, gender, or background.

“We’ve seen that some senior citizens are scared to come out of their homes because of COVID, so a big part of it is getting them out again so they can socialise and make sure they don’t feel isolated,” Mr Trim said.

“Holding R U OK Day activities is about creating awareness of mental health, reminding people they can ask people how they’re going and also teaching people how to ask someone who they think is struggling.”

Thursday will be the first time Whittlesea U3A has hosted R U OK Day activities and, while activities will be aimed at senior citizens, the day is open for everyone and will be an opportunity to learn about the different community organisations present.

The program for the day will feature tennis at 9am, ladies and men’s walking football at 9.30am and 11am respectively, and tai chi at 11.15am.

A golf putting mat will be available all day, with physiotherapists also present to provide information about body strength and fitness and teach simple exercises.

Whittlesea U3A’s R U OK Day activities will be from 9am to 1pm at YMCA Leisure City, located at 41-53 Miller Street in Epping.

For more information on walking football at Whittlesea U3A and the R U OK Day activities, people can email mick_trim1@hotmail.com.

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