As technology-induced inactivity combines with the chemical and biological warfare of the food industry, we have seen a significant increase in obesity, particularly in the African community in the U.S.
To combat this, we are engaging our community through ReGYMental Fitness as the platform for retooling the perspectives of health and fitness with the understanding that the body and mind are gyms unto themselves.
Inspired by other groups, such as The Bartendaz, The RBG Fit Club and our ancestors who stayed in shape and maintained a state of readiness before there were such things as gym memberships, we have honed our focus on four areas of practice. These are organic fitness, vegan/raw diets, yoga and self-defense training.
An exercise program combined with political education
Organic Fitness is defined by a program of reshaping the physique without the need for expensive equipment or a gym membership. Every exercise we do involves our own body weight.
The equipment can be found at most city parks or can be modified for nearly any location. We get creative. This is an outdoor workout that comes with its own benefits and risks, which will be explained later.
A vegan/raw diet is promoted to eliminate the immense hazards of processed food and meat bi-products and to also boost energy levels by eating as many live foods as possible.
This affects all areas of health, fitness and life in general. You will be amazed at the transformations that your body and mind go through with a change in eating habits.
Yoga is our method of increasing flexibility, core strength, posture and mental clarity. The practice opens up the range of motion and with increased flexibility unlocks muscle capacity.
Core strength and posture add stabilization to the body while aiding proper breathing. Mental clarity not only increases problem solving ability but also allows us to use our bodies in the most efficient manner when called upon.
The final practice we have focused on is self-defense training. We have found it vital in honing discipline, fluidity of movement and acquiring basic techniques to defend self, family and community.
When it comes to this, discipline is everything. It is the underlying foundation of all work and success.
Martial arts/sciences are a means of actualizing static power and we view defense as the hidden concept that brings full effectiveness to the trinity of Food, Clothing and Shelter.
ReGYMental Fitness is available five days a week and the people can come and go as they please.
For our more dedicated members, we have compiled a book and media list, which are used for discussion when we come together once a week, in an effort to further fortify the political education of our members while we strengthen our bodies.
The benefits of outdoor exercise
Many have asked us, "Why exercise outdoors?" Although this question has many answers, the most important are: it is widely available and it's FREE! Not everyone has access or resources for a gym membership but with our Organic Fitness regimen, you carry most of the gym with you and with a little creativity, you can find many everyday places to work out.
Being outside also provides you a fresher supply of air and vitamin D from sunlight exposure, which strengthens your bones and builds your immune system.
Recently, scientists have concluded that exercising outdoors will improve your energy level, decrease stress and can even be used as a treatment for depression.
There are risks involved in any workout and being outdoors comes with its own.
Training in the elements requires some getting used to, and temperature extremes can put extra stress on the body. Be sure to dress for the weather.
In the cold, dress in layers and protect your hands, ears and feet with gloves, hats and thick socks.
In the heat, make sure you have plenty of water, dress in loose, light-colored clothing and try to exercise in the early morning or evening.
Most importantly, always listen to your body. If you don't feel well, stop.
Remember: Health is wealth. We must invest in ourselves. The children are watching. Be an example.
The authors of this article are cofounders of ReGYMental, a Norfolk, Virginia-based organization aimed at resolving health issues in the African community. Members of ReGYMental also distribute The Burning Spear Newspaper in the Norfolk area.