Knoxville Walkers help inspire Black women to take their health into their own hands


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two Knoxville women are promoting exercise and sisterhood through walking. The group is called the Knoxville Walkers. They’re the local chapter of Girl Trek, a walking group geared toward women.

One trail at a time, Knoxville Walkers Founder Cindy Sanford and Co-organizer, Rhonda Clay hope to inspire women across Knoxville to choose themselves first.

Currently, their focus is on communities where attention to health and fitness is needed the most. They’re taking their cause to Mechanicsville. Their mission is to get Black women and girls in that community up and moving. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women but strokes disproportionately impact Black women.

Sanford says her hope is to encourage women in that community to get out and use the parks there more often.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for African American women in the Mechanicsville area to take charge of their health. I’m excited about going out there and sharing what we have to offer and how we can help them improve their health with just a simple mindset of walking 30 minutes a day.”

These ladies have seen the results, now they want to share the wealth; and they’re offering more than just exercise. This is a sisterhood.

“Getting us involved in that walking, it actually has lowered both of our blood pressures and it’s a very big stress reliever for me,” said co-founder, Rhonda Clay.

“For me, it’s encouraging to know that there are women out there who are willing to be a partner with someone else for health. And the more encouragement we get the better off we’re going to be and the more motivated we’re going to be,” Sanford said.

The road to a healthier lifestyle isn’t always a walk in the park, but one step in the right direction can make all the difference.

There haven’t been any group walking events in a while, but the Knoxville Walkers are making a comeback. They’re having a kick-off event Saturday, July 10 at 8 a.m. in Tyson Park.

Saturday, July 24 is the Knoxville Walkers pop-up event. They will be at Danny Mayfield park at 9 a.m. The event is the formal invite to the women of the Mechanicsville community to join them on their walks, but also to promote the parks and exercise equipment they already have.

Cindy and Rhonda can be reached on Facebook or through Instagram @KnoxvilleWalkers

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