It’s the first Feel Good Friday of Black History Month so let’s talk about an organization that helps Black women find health, justice and joy by walking, GirlTREK.
T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, and headquartered in Washington, D.C., GirlTREK is “the largest health movement and nonprofit organization for Black women and girls in the U.S.” They encourage Black women to walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, because they believe it is “a radical act of self-love and the root of a cultural revolution.”
Statics provided on the GirlTREK website, show that Black women have a life expectancy that is 5-10 years behind other racial groups. In addition, 81% of Black women are overweight, 52% are obese and they are 20% less likely to engage in physical activity. This leads to Black women in the United States dying from heart disease at the rate of 137 women each day.
The women behind GirlTREK knew that walking helps women improve their health, inspire their daughters and reclaim their neighborhoods. They found that “as women organize walking teams, they also mobilize community members to support advocacy efforts and lead a Civil Rights-inspired health movement.” Watch this 3-minute video to learn more.
Since they began 14 years ago, over 1.3 million women have taken the GirlTREK pledge to start walking and their results are impressive. 90% of women reported fewer symptoms of depression after joining GirlTREK. 61% reported losing weight and 56% sustained 5 days or more of walking for one year or more. Motivated by the success stories GirlTREK’s new goal is to increase the life expectancy of Black women by 10 years in 10 years.
If you’re ready to take steps towards a healthier you (pun 100% intended), search this page to find a GirlTREK group in your area. You can also sign up for a walking challenge, like a Jumpstart (walk 21/30 days) or Warrior Week (walk 5/7 days). Once you’ve finished the challenge, you’ll be eligible to claim your victory and collect prizes such as golden shoelaces or a GirlTREK t-shirt. If you can’t wait that long to represent, you can always shop for your swag.
Other ways to support GirlTREK are with a donation and by amplifying their message on social media. Like the GirlTREK Facebook page follow them on Instagram @girltrek. Now that you’re finished reading, why not go out for a walk?