Let's Take A Walk

by Nanekia Ansari

Every day 137 black women will die due to a preventable disease. Diseases that if caught in a timely manner can be reversed. 137 black women a day, 959 a week, 4,110 a month, and 50,005 a year deaths due to preventable deaths. GirlTrek is here to defeat those numbers.

Last Friday I was able to attend a GirlTrek event host at the Stillwater facility located at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. A great location for this event, it was warm, inviting and calm. You need that when you are about to tell the women in the room that at anytime one of them could be a part of that 137.

As we exited the van that delivered us to the Stillwater Conference Center we were greeted by a group of women that cheered us off our carriage. There were hugs and words of encouragement that invited us to partake in something miraculous that would happen there this evening. I received my official GirlTrek shirt, adjusted my invisible crown, grabbed my glass of wine and settle in to hear what our host had to say…

Founder and CEO Morgan Dixon addresses the audience, she asks us to have an open mind and an open heart as she takes us on a journey. Morgan and her friend Vanessa founded GirlTrek after determining they wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, lifestyles that were not too popular in their respective families. Some of the women in their families had succumb to preventable diseases and they wanted to change the game not only for themselves but for their families, leading by example.

How would they do this? They would make a commitment to each other to lead healthier lifestyles, they would start with a 30 minute walk a day and go from there. That 30 minute walk was the start of GirlTrek. It was the push for them to create a better life for themselves and their love ones that lead them to develop the Harriet Tubman Philosophy for Walking.

What is the Harriet Tubman Philosophy? As we all know Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. This walk our ancestors took to freedom was for their own health. They made the decision to take control of their lives and to lead by example. With each walk Harriet Tubman empowered those that followed to take control of their lives.

That is what GirlTrek is doing for women in the African American community. They have come up with the Harriet Tubman Guide Book which gives you walking challenges to help make your walking adventures fun. From climbing a mountain in Ghana to taking a stroll with your dog there are a bunch of ways to take literal steps in changing your health.

How is GirlTrek doing this? Well during the event here in Cleveland we needed to be honest with ourselves. The revealing exercises were for each individual woman to evaluate the positives and negatives about their health. Once we took the steps to recognize them we then channeled our ancestors and had a good old fashion tribal dance off. We danced from the very bottom of our feet to the top of our heads, we roared in unison and on our own, we encouraged each other, we danced for each other. In the most intense activity of the evening we paired off and stared into our sisters eyes, no sound, no smiles just you studying her face and she yours and seeing her story in her face and vice versa.

After this, we heard the Wonder Stories presented by Wonder of Women Cleveland Chapter. These powerful stories of overcoming helped to bond the group for the next steps. The next steps...We were challenged by Morgan to commit to walk. 

GirlTrek is on a mission to have a million African American women commit to walking at least 30 minutes a day by the year 2020. This is not a mission they are taking lightly they have groups set-up in cities throughout the United States to help women take the first steps to starting the challenge.

I discovered there are 168 parks in the city of Cleveland and surrounding areas. That means 168 places to visit to walk, that means 168 groups of women who can start a walking club. Go to their website (www.girltrek.org) to sign-up for the challenge and get the rules released to you. Yes as with every great challenge there are rules. These rules are in place to protect you and your fellow walkers. Once you sign up for the challenge your next step is to take a step. Decide to start walking and then get to it. It’s our responsibility to secure ourselves first and then go back and bring our sisters alongside us.

What have you done to improve your health? How can adding a walk help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals? Comment below

Nanekia Ansari is the voice and writer behind Just One Hot Mom the blog and podcast. Her desire to parent each of her children as individuals and develop their creative styles lead her to begin to document their journey and share it with other parents who need support and guidance. As the “Hottest Family” began to share their stories Nanekia noted there were more stories to share from families, from all walks of life, thus the podcast was developed to share those stories. Nanekia is a blogger, motivational speaker, show host, entrepreneur, mentor, and coach. Her specialty is in coaching and mentoring other women to develop life plans to live a successful and healthy life. Tune into her radio show Just One Hot Mom on www.ElevationsRadio.com every Friday at 7pm, subscribe to her podcast on Itunes and YouTube, follow the adventures of her family on the blog at www.justonehotmom.com and like/follow them on social media FB: Just One Hot Mom, IG justonehotmom, & Twitter: just1hotmom.”