After 17 years rallying troops for their twice-weekly exercise, Tina Scullion is hanging up her walking shoes to explore Australia.
That’s meant one of the Heart Foundation Walking’s longest-running groups is seeking a new Sunshine Coast Walk Organiser to volunteer and step up to the plate.
Ms Scullion, 70, of Currimundi joined the Currimundi ECO group when it was coordinated by the then Caloundra City Council.
“I joined because I love walking and, being new to the Coast, I felt it would be a good way to meet like-minded people,” Ms Scullion said.
“I think the physical and social benefits of belonging to a fantastic group like this are beyond anything anyone expected when it first started.
“The friendship is immeasurable. We’ve gone through births, deaths and anniversaries together and joined many other groups such as book, garden and pottery clubs.
“I hope it will continue to function and grow for many years to come.”
Sunshine Coast Council Community Development Officer and Heart Foundation Walking Local Coordinator Helen Szabo said the group mostly consisted of people aged over 50 and needed someone to volunteer and help lead it about two times a week.
“A love of people and walking is all that is required. There really are so many lovely benefits to joining and leading a wonderful group like this one, such as combatting loneliness, isolation and heart disease,” Ms Szabo said.
Division 3 Councillor Peter Cox congratulated Ms Scullion on her determined efforts.
“Tina has done a phenomenal job orchestrating the Currimundi ECO group, and inspiring many with her friendly people skills and organised nature.
“While she may have big shoes to fill, we are hoping they will be replaced quickly.”
Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the walking group was a fine example of local neighbourhoods contributing to the Sunshine Coast becoming Australia’s healthiest region.
“Through its Community Strategy, council has a clear vision to empower our community to live healthy and active lifestyles because together we thrive.
“If you haven’t thought about joining one of the Heart Foundation’s walking groups, now’s the perfect opportunity.”
A recent Heart Foundation survey of 300 people found that around 30 per cent said they had been walking more since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect. Of those, 45 per cent took walks by themselves, 33 per cent with their partner and 22 per cent with their pets.
There are 409 people registered for Heart Foundation Walking groups across the Sunshine Coast, including 48 in Currimundi. Many are pram- and dog-friendly.
The Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton said regular physical activity, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, can deliver real health benefits.
“It not only reduces your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions, but you are likely to feel more energetic, have stronger bones and muscles, and feel happier,” Adjunct Professor Shilton said.
“If you decide to walk in a Heart Foundation Walking group, you can also gain great social benefits. Our walkers often tell us they start for the exercise but stay for the company – which might be why Tina stayed on for so long!
“We thank Tina for her years of incredible service as a Walk Organiser and wish her all the best for her future adventures.”
To volunteer for the Currimundi ECO group Walk Organiser position or locate a group in your area, visit the Heart Foundation Walking website.