Belmont athletes teach physical fitness, nutrition to neighbors
Since beginning her morning walking routine, Edgehill Apartments resident Sandra Chandler has felt less arthritis aches in her knees.
Thanks to a Belmont University pharmacy student’s mission project, she also has learned to drink a gallon of water daily, eat six small meals a day, cook with whole wheat flour and fill half of her plate with fruits and vegetables.
Fourth-year pharmacy student Adam Culbertson laid the trail for the Edgehill Rose Park Walking Club, a group of neighbors, civic leaders and Belmont University athletes who walk from 7 to 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He began the walking club in July to fulfill the mission portion of required rotations for Belmont pharmacy students and is relying on University athletes and civic leaders to continue the program.
“My goal was to go into an underserved community and give them something that they could do themselves and is sustainable,” he said. “I talked with community leaders about their wants and needs, and (Family Resource Center Director) Brenda Morrow said, ‘Why not get them outside and create goals for the adults and get sports players from the school to teach kids basic skills?’”
Culbertson organized the walking club, created a curriculum to discuss nutrition and body mass index and has coordinated guest speakers, such as Dr. Mary Wakefield, an extension agent for Tennessee State University and Metro Parks, to teach a class using the MyPlate.gov nutrition series.
Morrow said the club has created a healthy exchange of ideas as well as a setting for neighbors to socialize and share recipes.
“I want to live a healthy life and struggle with high blood pressure,” said Nathaniel Jolly, who lives in the Edgehill Apartments. “I like the exercise, and it keeps me from lying at home and doing nothing. I’ve learned what to eat and what not to eat, like cutting down on fried foods and eating more baked foods.”
The Edgehill Rose Park Walking Club, which includes a dozen adults and some 70 youth, walks, runs and skips laps around the Rose Park baseball field and inside the Easley Community Center gym on hotter mornings.
Belmont’s Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Betty Wiseman, Assistant Director of Athletic Operations Michael Graffin and student golfer Jennifer Newman also have joined the club on its morning walks, which are free and open to the public.
“If we can get more people from Belmont, then we are able to promote this community and form more of a positive relationship with its members,” said Graffin, also head of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “This (walking club) is a good way to say, ‘Hey, we do care about this community.’”