DETERMINED: Gaylene Johnston has joined the Gympie Times club on Strava for our Kick the Kilos campaign to help improve the region's health.
DETERMINED: Gaylene Johnston has joined the Gympie Times club on Strava for our Kick the Kilos campaign to help improve the region's health. Francesca McMackin

The one-woman walking machine pushing for our health

WHEN asked why she joined the Kick the Kilos campaign to drive health and fitness in our region, Gaylene Johnston asked, "Why not?”

The 41-year-old North Deep Creek resident and PHN administration officer knows how important a healthy lifestyle is, and is among the leaders chalking up the most kilometres walked.

PHN Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to improve regional health, putting Mrs Johnston at the front lines of health promotion and education.

"My work is always encouraging their employees to be physically active,” Mrs Johnston said.

"We work in the health sector; we lead by example.”

She said it was great to be representing the region and be involved in something positive, "rather than a negative for this poor old town”.

"Gympie has one of the highest obesity levels in this PHN catchment,” Mrs Johnston said.

Mrs Johnston said 30.5% of Gympie residents are obese, only beaten by Bundaberg where 33.2% of residents are obese.

"If you can encourage people to go out and do something, why not?” she said.

While she admits to being highly competitive, Mrs Johnston said she also pushed herself every week in the hope that it might inspire somebody else.

"I'd like to think if someone sees what kilometres I do, they might be encouraged to start,” she said.

"Every bit helps.”

With the Strava app free to download and use, it's hard to see a downside to joining the campaign.

"You've got an opportunity to do something that doesn't cost anything,” Mrs Johnston said.

She prefers to exercise by herself with music, and goes for walks before work, during lunch and after work.

"I walk and walk and walk and walk and walk,” she said.

"I'm about to go for another walk.”

When The Gympie Times spoke to Mrs Johnston on Wednesday, she was "on track to crack 100km this week”.

"My best week so far was 96.9km,” she said.

The duck ponds at Lake Alford Park form her favourite walking backdrop.

Gympie Times


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