After experiencing an especially challenging 12 months including a sprained wrist and surgeries on her foot, knee and neck, Shawnee Mission Health Volunteer Services manager Peggy Todd was limited in her ability to be active. As a result, she gained unwanted weight and felt discouraged about exercising. Following her final surgery in January 2015, Todd was finished with a year of setbacks and ready to commit to her personal wellness once again.

Todd was inspired to take her first stab at exercising again when she learned about SMH’s Women’s Training Team.

For more than 20 years, Women’s Training Team has encouraged women and girls age 12 and older of all sizes and abilities to join in a judgment-free fitness program. The outdoor series held on the Shawnee Mission Medical Center campus combines positive and encouraging walking or running training with educational sessions on injury prevention, technique and more. Last year more than 400 women and girls from around Kansas City participated in the program.

“We partner with Kansas City Express, a local walking and running group for women, to provide the expertise for building endurance and training,” said Charlene Wallace, SMH Breast Center manager, who helps with Training Team each year. “Then, Shawnee Mission Health experts talk about a wide variety of topics from injury prevention to sleep and healthy eating. We really touch on all aspects of CREATION Health, with activity, nutrition and healthy relationships being at the core of our program.”

Women’s Training Team helped Todd and her fellow SMH associate, Charlene Scott, Health Information Management director, find the encouraging push they needed to jumpstart their own journeys to health and wellness.

The program’s ultimate goal is to prepare its participants to walk or run in the annual KC Express Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk. Todd greatly exceeded expectations by completing both the Mother’s Day 5K and the American Heart & Stroke Walk.

“In addition to walking, I also began eating healthier and replaced soda with water,” said Todd. “I have now lost two percent of my total body fat and continue to accomplish new goals. I feel lighter and plan to keep incorporating the healthy habits I’ve learned into my daily life.”

After Todd and Scott completed the six-week program together, they enjoyed their weekly walks so much that they committed to continuing them. You can still find them walking the campus of SMH together weekly.

“As women we know how hard it can be to find the motivation to get fit, especially after recovering from injuries,” said Wallace. “It is stories like Peggy’s that continue to inspire Kansas City women and girls of all abilities to join the Women’s Training Team community and jumpstart a lifelong path to health and wellness.”

Learn more about Women’s Training Team

Stefanie Tapke writes for Shawnee Mission Health.