Walking and talking with friends is one way to take a step in the right direction toward physical and emotional health, according to Susan Hayes, who is the leader of a group called Flower Mound Walking Women.
It’s a group for women only, and they walk and talk their way around the trails of Grapevine Lake, getting healthier and building friendships as they go.
Hayes, who was a personal trainer for 25 years and specialized in working with obese women, moved to Flower Mound from Alaska 13 years ago and found herself wanting to make friends and connect with other women.
“I missed the camaraderie and connection with other women,” Hayes said, adding that the group focuses not only on physical health, but also in building lasting friendships.
“When women talk together, they are happier.” Hayes noted that depression is rampant in today’s world, and being out in the fresh air and sunshine with friends is a natural antidote for the blues.
Another important aspect of this unique group is that they are dog friendly and encourage walkers to bring their pets. “When you see the dogs running and playing on the shoreline, you just can’t be depressed. The two just don’t go together,” Hayes said.
Shannon Summerlin is the co-organizer of the group and assists with planning the meetings and marketing the group to increase membership participation. She has lost about 12 pounds since starting the walking and talking regimen.
Summerlin said she originally joined to help supplement her personal fitness training and for accountability to show up to the meetings to walk while meeting new friends. By attending so many walking sessions, she got to know Hayes better, and now the two say they are great friends who spend time together not only walking, but also attending yoga classes, shopping and other fun activities.
“Susan was an inspiration to me because she looks fabulous and has a great positive and motivating attitude that makes you want to get fit,” she said.
As the friendships form, the group has started having socials and other activities as well, like yoga, spa activities and social parties.
“We recently hosted a few events that included a yoga class followed by a party and an excursion to preview the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art,” said Summerlin.
There is never a charge to join the group and the women currently meet at 4:30 p.m. every Sunday at the Lake Grapevine Twin Coves entrance at 4920 Wichita Trail in Flower Mound. After daylight saving time ends, the group will meet at 6 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
Currently, the average number of attendees is five or six, but Hayes and Summerlin want to encourage all local women to give their group a try. If interested, please RSVP to www.meetup.com/Flower-Mound-walking-women or contact Flower Mound Women’s Walking Group at 469-358-6964.