Groovy granny who never skips a beat receives Heart Foundation Walking award

Edna Kauffman (bottom-left) has been a Heart Foundation Walking member for 15 years. [Source: Facebook]

Keeping fit has always been important to 74-year-old Edna Kauffman, so being recognised as one of the Heart Foundation’s 2023 Golden Shoe Award winners is just an added bonus she’s incredibly grateful for.

The Golden Shoe is an annual award recognising a select group of Heart Foundation Walking members who shine in their local communities by supporting new and seasoned walkers. Nominated by her Groovy Grannies walking group peers, they said Edna’s fun to be around, is always encouraging, and provides a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.

“I love being part of the walking group, I’m very humbled that I was nominated and I’m very grateful for the group thinking that I’m deserving of it. I’ll continue to do my best to support and encourage others,” Edna said.

Edna first joined her local Heart Foundation Walking group in 2008 when she and her husband, Roger, retired. It was a no-brainer for the pair who are always on the move; they both formed a cycling group at the same time which is still going today.

What is Heart Foundation Walking?

  • Each walking group is led by a local volunteer, with over 45,000 active walkers enrolled in nationwide groups
  • You can join a local group any time, or start your own one. Some groups have special requirements (parents with prams, cultural walking groups, over 50’s) but many groups are inclusive of everyone
  • Over the last 15 years, Edna’s completed 1,202 official walks – and that doesn’t include countless personal walks and adventures 

The Canberra couple is not afraid of new challenges either, as Edna and Roger just returned home from a five-day walking escapade at Queensland’s Carnarvon Gorge. Edna said the demanding nature of the Gorge means you have to be relatively fit to tackle it, and she knows the time spent with her walking and cycling groups made it possible.

Edna Kauffman, the 2023 Golden Shoe Award winner for ACT. [Source: Supplied]

But it’s not only Edna’s personal abilities that make her a Golden Shoe Award winner, it’s how she brings the best out of others to help them find joy as part of the group.

“We have a few people in the walking group who joined more recently with health and mobility issues. They struggled in the first couple of months but now they wouldn’t miss it for anything because they feel the health benefits of doing something active,” Edna said.

“But if you are committed to a group you will get out and you will exercise.”

Benefits for everyone

  • A 30-minute walk every day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%, and Type 2 diabetes by 40% 
  • According to the Heart Foundation’s own annual walker survey, over 90% of walkers said group walking helped their physical, mental and social well-being
  • Some group members – there are 34 registered walkers in Edna’s group – have also formed their own quilting club and book club.

Alongside the physical health benefits, are the social ones. After each walk, the group grabs a coffee or breakfast and they’ll sit and chat for as long as they want to. Edna believed the social benefits are just as critical as the physical ones for older people.

“A lot of people who are in the walking group are single, and being single, you need the socialisation, the companionship, the support. There is always a mandatory coffee session and it’s amazing how people just sit and chat. For me, it’s great to see other people getting rewards from it,” Edna said.

For anyone interested in joining their local walking group, head to Heart Foundation Walking for more information. Canberra natives can even join Edna’s group, as groovy grannies of any gender and a splash of youth are always welcomed. 

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