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.
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.
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.”
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.