Eat Healthy & Get Outside – A Formula For Long Life: Part 2

September 17, 2019 1:58 pm Published by

In our last blog post, Dr. Clifford Morris, cardiologist and healthy living advocate, shared how he is helping children learn to grow, eat and enjoy fresh foods. But there is more to his formula for a long, healthy life.



From garden to table, kids experience first-hand enjoyment of growing and eating their own food.


MOVEMENT AS MEDICINE

Dr. Morris speaks of “regular physical activity”, instead of “exercise”, as a critical pathway to healthier living.  Movement—almost any movement—has healing power. He endorses Tai chi, a graceful form of exercise from ancient China that embraces the mind, body and spirit.  It’s one of the most effective exercises for overall health of the mind and body.  “I once visited China and witnessed hundreds of people practicing Tai chi in a local park.  It was amazing to see how they all moved in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep slow-paced breathing.  I was immediately captivated. Now I teach it to my patients and provide public demonstrations.  We’ve even made it part of the cardiac rehabilitation program at John Randolph Hospital!” 

Many people cope with high stress levels every day. “I’ve been practicing medicine in Hopewell for 23 years and let me tell you, we’ve got a lot of stress in our community.” How can we deal with the stress in our lives? Dr. Morris suggests that “getting outside in beautiful natural settings instills in us a peace and drives us towards positive actions. When we’re in nature, we stay in the moment—time stands still—in fact, there is no time in nature!”  He goes on to explain that to improve our health, we need to spend more time in nature, not rushing, but moving slowly with intention, thinking only positive thoughts and connecting with a higher power. 

Our conversation makes me think of one of Dr. Morris’ favorite spaces—Heritage Gardens in City Point—and all the other parks and trails we have in Hopewell – like the recently renovated Woodlawn Park and the stunning Riverwalk along the Appomattox River.  All are great places to do what Dr. Morris is telling me—be active and s l o w  d o w n.



Dr. Morris demonstrates the ancient art of Tai chi which combines gentle physical exercise
and stretching with mindfulness.


THE PATH FORWARD

With healthy eating and daily physical activity as the cornerstones of his approach to a healthier community, Dr. Morris is working toward forming a nonprofit organization. He’s enrolled a few board members but wants local community members to make up the balance of the Board of Directors. “I want [to include] young people too—some creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.” From there he plans to create a volunteer network to help the City of Hopewell toward the Community Health & Character strategy in their Comprehensive Plan.

As we wrap up our interview, I ask him, “What can readers of this blog do to help Hopewell become a healthier city?” He fires right back with, “Read Hopewell’s Community Health & Character Strategy (click the link for the PDF), support the people and organizations that are helping that plan move forward, get involved with helping our youth and older citizens—and ignore the naysayers. Oh, and one more thing—eat a healthy diet and get outside!”

Learn More:
Tai chi: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184
Hopewell’s Comprehensive Plan 2018: Community Health and Character: https://hopewellva.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/17-City-of-Hopewell-2018-Comprehensive-Plan-Final-Draft-CHAPTER-8-COMMUNITY-HEALTH-CHARACTER.pdf

Fun for the Family!
The entire family can have fun and stay healthy together at the City Point 5K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, October 26, 2019, at the Hopewell Community Center! Registration and details at www.hopewellrecandparks.com/5k.

A special thank you to Dr. Morris for partnering with John Randolph Foundation as a top sponsor of the City Point 5K & Kids Fun Run for many years!

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This post was written by Ken Newman

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