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BACKGROUND

In 1984 a young medical doctor stepped out of curative medicine to establish networks and promote self-help health care. It was apparent that South Africa had an adequate sickness service , what was needed was a health service.

So began the long walk to wellness.

Thirty years on and wellness is the current ”buzz word” In preventative healthcare. Yet the concept is poorly understood, with little more than lip service paid to its funding and the implementation of grass root community projects. Healthcare authorities are still bound to the curative medical module with few services provided in the field of health promotion and training of wellness professionals.

Prevention of disease and more importantly the promotion of individual & community health are the tenants on which the Health Foundation was established in 1984. Physical activity being the key to a number of projects including Fit-Walk and Jog- for Joy, all for runners of Walk-It-Off. The Exercise Teachers Association (now Academy) was formed to train the fitness and gym industry and today is the leading fitness training body in South Africa.

Wellness as a way of life prompted the founding of Walk-It-Off in 1994 and has since partnered many successful projects namely:

  • Cape Times Big Walk
  • Cape Times/KFM Walkathon & Wheelathon Series
  • Walk to Wellness Walk
  • Tygerberg Big Walk
  • Wellness Week at the Waterfront
  • Cape Times Walk-It Off Club
  • Come & Play Recreational Programme and more

The need to reduce the risks associated with chronic lifestyle disease such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis and asthma lead to the role out of the Walk-It-Off Clubs at the IKHWEZI Clinic in the Strand, Cape. Launched in 4th December 2013 in association with Yabonga and Masincendane, ten volunteers were trained to be Group Leaders in their community.

Walking To Wellness

Wellness is the road we walk to personal and community wellbeing. It is an extraordinary lifestyle of awareness and change – in return it demands commitment and responsibility. It is a lifestyle to be nurtured, we must choose it – there is no finish line – it’s a WALK and it lasts our whole lives.

The Wellness Way clarifies the role of the doctor – as healer when we become sick, while teaching us to “take charge” of our own health, that of our family and extend this care into our community. We know we are on the wellness road when we realize that health is more than just not being ill.

Walk-It-Off together with NewLife Club are designed to carry the message of choice, taking charge and self responsibility. It’s often in the search for physical vitality that we unlock the door to wellness. “Well people ”that we meet are not always illness free, physically fit, emotionally in control or spiritually up there -but they are aware, vital, changing, growing and moving in the right direction. Walk on!

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