Live Well DC

An Initiative to Make DC the Country’s Healthiest City
Live Well sponsors a yoga class at the recent Feet on the Street Festival in Fort Dupont Park. Photo: Live Well DC

Move More. Eat Healthy. Don’t Smoke. Love Responsibly. Reduce Stress. See Your Doctor. Wash Your Hands. Be Prepared. Make Peace. Read More. These 10 healthy living tips are the tenets of the District’s Live Well DC initiative sponsored by the DC Department of Health. The city wants to educate and increase public awareness of the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. Live Well DC encourages those who live, work and play in the District to live longer, more productive lives.

The campaign is in its second year and is led by 11 local residents known as Live Well community coaches who volunteer their time to coordinate and/or publicize their activities and free events through Facebook, Twitter, email and texting. According to Georgette Walker, a Live Well DC spokesperson, the program is launching metro ads this year to remind people about the four tenets: move more, don’t smoke, go to see a doctor regularly and eat healthy. “These are easy for anyone to address without financial expenditure.”

Georgette explained how the program works. The volunteer coaches, who are not professional health and fitness people, do whatever activities they like most and solicit others to join them. They support each other’s events and solicit city businesses and organizations to partner with them in creating fun events. They meet face-to-face in quarterly meetings where they brainstorm about how to keep things fresh and how to support each other.

Former Olympic skater Nat Mills is Ward 7’s community coach. The following is one of his tweets last month, “ 2nd favorite way to keep it moving on a beautiful day: 18 holes sans cart at #LangstonGolfCourse- that's over 7,000 yards! #MoveMoreDC27 Sep 12.”

Ward 6 community coach Christina Alexander tweeted information that has been helpful to her, “@EatThisNotThat: DO THE MATH: Cut out 96 calories from your daily diet, and you'll be 10 pounds lighter one year from today! 25 Aug 12.”

Christina, who is a development associate for the Arthritis Foundation, learned about Live Well DC last year through a city-wide casting call search for community coaches. “I missed the live casting call because of work travel, but I sent in an email and they liked it.” She said her first year was exciting. “I learned about so many free resources available in the city. I especially enjoy shopping at local farmers markets.” She also has taken advantage of the free exercise classes offered throughout the District.

Christina said she wants to help others in her community, while helping herself, as she set out on her lifestyle change last year. The softball-loving Ward 6 resident’s goal is to lose pounds and to maintain a healthy weight with physical activities like boxing, which she calls “more fun than work.” To support her efforts, Christina strives to avoid fried foods and opt, instead, for lean protein and vegetables. This past summer Live Well DC partnered with the chef from the restaurant, Busboys and Poets, to present a live cooking demo. “We wanted to teach how to make dishes that people are familiar with more healthful. Chef Gomez taught us how to make a vegan tuna casserole.”

Live Well DCled residents in several activities from the Live Well stage at the National Park Service's 4th Annual “Feet in the Street” in Fort DuPont Park last month. Attendees of the event enjoyed Zumba and Yoga classes as well as a live concert featuring Secret Society.

The next Live Well DC event, Yoga in the Park, will take place at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park on Saturday, October 6th from 9a.m.-noon.

Christina said she is working on partnering with a business in Ward 6 to create an event that engages the community in southwest, where she lives. She has reached out to Tommy Wells, Ward 6 councilman, and the Navy Yard. You can follow Christina on her Live Well DC account on Twitter (@Christina.LWDC) or keep up with her activities through the main Live Well DC account (@LiveWellDC). To learn more about Live Well DC and upcoming events log onto: www.mylivewelldc.com.

Pattie Cinelli is a personal trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor who specializes in fitness for weight loss, pre/post natal and core/balance training. She has been writing her health/fitness column for more than 20 years. Email questions and column suggestions to: fitness@pattiecinelli.com


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