Detroit: From Fat to Fit!

My hometown Detroit, Michigan has been considered and rated one of the fattest cities in the U.S. While it is true that we may not have the weather of Southern California or  Florida we do have a growing number of people who are very active doing a variety of things to stay active and fit.
I’ll site some 10 examples and you may see Detroit’s not so well publicized activity and it’s potential as I do. An essential component of Detroit’s growth must include healthy citizens as well as a healthy economy and job growth and Health and Wellness is one of the best prospects for new and sustained long term growth.

Example 1. Ski and Sports- The Jim Dandy Ski Club- The J.D.S.C. as they are known have been a group of recreational skiers since 1959 and are a key part of the Motor Cities history and  could very well be called Jim Dandy Ski and Sports Club because of the variety of things the club gets involved in. Biking, Scuba Diving, House boating, mountain biking, golf, inline skating, running, etc. You will find “Dandies” in most activities around Detroit.

Example 2. Running- Stonesteppers- This running club founded by veteran marathoner Mike Stone has competed in numerous running event and marathons over many years. As I can personally attest a marathon is one of the most challenging physical accomplishments one can perform in. They meet regularly in Oak Park, Mi. but you can find Stonesteppers members regularly at Palmer Park, downtown and in many of the 5k,10k,  Crim and always at the Detroit Free Press Marathon and Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.

Example 3. Dancing- Mr. Smooth’s Ballroom Dancing- Calvin “Mr. Smooth” Sibert lost over 100 lbs. and took up ballroom dancing. Today he and his wife Jackie teach others a fun way to fitness by teaching ballroom dancing to thousands across the country. They are major contributors to a growing activity and why Detroit is considered the Ballroom dancing capital in the U.S. Of course in their are many classes and groups teaching classes from Tango, Hustle, Latin and even Foxtrot by James Valentino at his new studio City Style Tango in Detroit suburb Clawson.

Example 4. Urban Gardening-The Greening of Detroit -Detroit Black Food Security Network
Health and fitness are growing in Detroit and so is the food. The “D” is steadily becoming more popular for it’s urban gardening efforts and promoting greens, a green environment and a green economy. The D Town Farms in Rouge Park has received numerous accolades nationally and internationally for their work in the community. Founder and educator Malik Yakini has championed this cause with a board of dedicated people who volunteer and serve hundreds. You can buy fresh foods at D town and great produce around town like at Bushnell Church weekly.

Example 5. Cycling-Spokes Cycling Club, Slow Ride,  Critical Mass and Tour de’Troit.
Bike Riding in Detroit has been taken to another level where motoring around one of the city the put the world on wheels is putting the city on a different set of wheels. A few years ago there were a few cyclists that gathered here and there or some in small groups but now there are major  events where small is 25 and large ones number over 500. Tour de Troit registered over 6500 people this in 2013.

Example 6. Farmers Markets- Eastern Market is one of the longest operating and successful farmers markets in the mid west. Tens of thousands of people come to Russel Street to shop in an atmosphere where urban and suburban patrons commingle from the early morning hours to the evenings on Tuesdays, Saturdays, Flower days and all year round. Wayne State University also has farmers markets as does Bushnell Church on Detroit’s West side are held during the week.

Example 7. Natural Foods-Whole Foods Market opened this year to crowds that waited in line for hours to get a sample, a glimpse and shop at the fifth largest opening of a store this size in the country. The store continues to be busy and there is talk of other stores following suit. Goodwells Natural Foods in Midtown is experiencing steady support in a lively area of town with high occupancy and interest in eating healthfully as they enjoy a wide variety of stores and places to explore. Metro Foodland on Grand River on detroit’s west side has a growing variety of healthy food choices and prepared food selections. they are setting a new standard for markets in Detroit with vegetarian and vegan choices. They also have a Healthy Rewards card. Owner James Hooks, family and staff are there to serve you.

Example 8. Avalon Bakery- Avalon has emerged as a place to get breads and whole grains desserts to please a discriminating palate. Gluten free foods are on the menu along with traditional bread choices. The bakery has recently purchased a 50,000 square foot facility to serve the country with it’s wares. You will find there products at Whole Foods, Plum Market and many other outlets in the Greater Detroit Metro area.

Example 9. Healthy Destinations- Belle Isle, Palmer Park and Rouge Parks are three of the cities jewels. On any given day you will find people walking, running, biking, canoeing, kayaking (weather permitting of course) and and skating all within the city’s limits. At Campus Martius in downtown Detroit the ice skating rink is busy in the winter. There are people who travel from near and far to experience these parks where golfers gather, tennis and racquetball is played. A growing number of biking lanes will make getting to these places easier.

Example 10. Wholistic Health services and Training- Detroit Wholistic Center, Wholistic Training Institute with Jesse R. Brown, N.D., Keefa Weatherspoon N.D. and Sankofa Life Campus. The founders of these institutions have been active in Detroit for over 30 years reaching the masses through radio, television and gatherings that have drawn notable wholistic health authors, teachers and advocates such as Queen Afua, Dick Gregory, Dr. Laila Afrika, Dr. Elson Haas.

In conclusion-*Health and Wellness is projected to be the next Trillion Dollar industry. Detroit has a long history of natural healing since the early 1900s in Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Herbology, the manufacture and sale of natural healing products such as RingMaster Rubbing Oil. These leaders and those they have touched will no doubt be some of the future torchbearers in the wellness movement in Michigan, across the country and in the world.
The community of what I call (WHIPPS) Wholistic Health Individual Practitioners, Professionals, Services and Supporters is growing at a good rate too large to list here. A list will be forthcoming.
*See the book by Paul Zane Pilzer-The Next Trillion.