Wednesday, June 7, 2017
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Power of Walking
“What we learned is that walking just 30 minutes a day can singlehandedly decrease 50% of your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, even Alzheimer’s and dementia. We know that walking is the single most powerful thing that a woman can do for her health, so we knew we were onto something.”
--T. Morgan Dixon, CEO of GirlTrek
I like to watch TED talks several times a week. It is a cool way to learn about new ideas and interesting people doing good things. TED (Technology, Education, Design) talks started in 1984 as a conference; the nonprofit foundation’s stated agenda is “to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.”
Recently, I watched a TED talk called “Walking as a revolutionary act of self-care” with T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison (May 2017). Dixon and Garrison started an organization called GirlTrek to encourage and support black women to walk for the health of it. Dixon was a history teacher in Atlanta who left teaching and partnered with her best friend so they could figure out how to make a difference in the lives – and health – of black women. They became aware of how the poor health outcomes of black women were largely due to obesity and diabetes. They also knew that women had the power to heal not only themselves but also their communities, if only they could prioritize their own health.
While listening to their TED talk, I was reminded of the message I hear every time I fly: “If you are travelling with small children, put on your own mask first.”
It is time for women to step up and take control of their own health in order to be healers for our families and our communities. We can no longer afford –literally and figuratively - to postpone our own health care. As women and mothers, we must take care of our own health in order to protect the health of our children. Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic depends on the health of women. This is our time and the world is waiting for our greatness.
For more information about GirlTrek, go to www.girltrek.org. Let’s empower our children. The first step is empowering women. Get ready, get set, walk!
With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.