The Kappa Psi Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alphas do many great things in the Madison-area community, but the one thing they have always been focused intently upon is improving women's health.
“Our sorority has always had a health-related platform and it really is to increase activity and to try and reduce the disparities that often plague folks in the minority communities,” says longtime AKA member Nichelle Nichols, who is helping to organize the sixth annual Walk It Out event. “We definitely want to do whatever we can to promote healthy lifestyle choices and thinking about new ways of eating. That's what the Walk It Out event is all about.”
For the sixth straight year, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority — with help from Group Health Cooperative and the 100 Black Men of Madison — will host their Walk It Out free community fitness event. In the past, it has been held at Warner Park and Madison College. This year it will be at Edgewood College on Saturday, June 29.
“We are super-excited about being on Edgewood's campus. The walk is going to lead us down through Vilas Park and it will be a very scenic and enjoyable walk for the walkers,” Nichols tells The Madison Times. “The space at Edgewood is just really beautiful. The rooms that we have all of our fitness sessions in are very nice. It's a beautiful campus.”
That two-mile walk that will kick off the event will be led by Group Health Cooperative's Jeanan Yasiri Moe, the 2013 Walk Champion. She will lead event attendees around scenic Vilas Park and Lake Wingra.
“Before we start the walk, we are going to have a really fun dance warm-up with Althea Miller, who is in our sorority and is a dancer,” Nichols says. “She's going to lead the group through a fun walk-it-out dance.”
There will be two sessions on healthy cooking with Chef Rod Ladson and the 100 Black Men of Madison. “They always kind of surprise us every year with what they are going to do but it's my understanding that they will focus on easy, nutritious snacks. We are looking forward to them. The 100 Black Men always do a remarkable job of talking about how to add healthy eating and nutrition into your day-to-day life.”
There will be sessions of yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, and a boot camp. “We're very fortunate to be able to offer a variety of different exercises and opportunities for folks,” Nichols says. “With our partnership with Group Health Cooperative, we will also have chair massages and reflexology for individuals to sign up for.
“This event is for everybody. Somebody who is new to exercising to somebody who already is an avid exerciser,” Nichols adds. “It's a fun Saturday morning to try new things and to get a nutritious snack and to meet other women. It's family friendly and it's free. We've got kids' activities planned for both indoors and outdoors.”
Some women never start exercising because they feel like an event or a certain crowd is not for them. Nichols is adamant that the Walk It Out event wants all women to attend.
“Exercising is for everybody. The bottom line is that everybody may have a different way that they want to exercise,” she says. “We open with the walk because walking is just an easy thing that you can start to do and you can build up your pace and your stamina at your own rate. The other sessions that we have our very diverse — from high-energy Zumba to relaxing yoga to Tai Chi. You can pick and choose what's best for you. We like to offer a variety so that there is something for everyone. It's just about getting out there and trying something.”
While Nichols and the AKAs have an exciting day planned, they hope that the event keeps people in a healthy mindset 365 days a year.
“We want people to come on out and we want them to say when they walk away that they tried something new and learned something new,” Nichols says. “We want women to feel motivated to be focused on their own health and fitness after they come away from the event.
“Hopefully, some women will use this as their launch pad and/or their continuous motivation to keep exercising and have healthy living as an important part of their lives well beyond Saturday,” Nichols adds.
Walk It Out 2013 will be held at Edgewood College on Saturday, June 29, 9 a.m.
For more information or to register, visit www.wio2013.eventbrite.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or