Step 1: Attend a Healthier Montgomery Workshop
What to do
The more you know, the more you can share! Take advantage of all of the resources the community has to offer by attending one of the Health Department sponsored workshops on healthy living. Whether you’re interested in nutrition, gardening, physical activity or chronic disease management, there are classes of all kinds that are free and open to the public.
To Do List:
- See What’s Up. Check in with the Health Department, UT Extension, the local library, the Parks & Recreation centers or your place of worship for upcoming events and workshops on healthy living.
- Ask a Friend. The more, the merrier! Once you find a workshop that works for you, invite neighbors on your street to attend with you, or even carpool.
- Clarksville Now: http://clarksvillenow.com/events/#/
- Montgomery County Health Department: https://mcgtn.org/health
- Parks and Recreation: http://www.cityofclarksville.com/index.aspx?page=141
- UT Extension: https://extension.tennessee.edu/montgomery/Pages/default.aspx
Not sure where to start? Email us at Healthier@mcgtn.net for tips on upcoming events. Take pictures of your neighborhood activities and brag on each other. We have Health Educators and Austin Peay Health Science Students here to help. So feel free to contact us for help at Healthier@mcgtn.net
Step 2: Start a Street & Neighborhood Walking Program
What to do
Help residents in your neighborhood become more active by establishing a neighborhood Walking group. You might have people that are more into Biking, Running or Yoga, or other Fitness Activities and that’s perfectly fine. Research shows that when you work out with others, you actually reap more benefits from the exercise. Going by the science of Blue Zones, doing these activities with the people that live around you, reduces stress and builds Social Capital. Plus, everyone wins with greater motivation, accountability, and connection! Try meeting once a week, or once a month, to break a sweat together.
To Do List:
- Choose your groove. First and foremost, you should decide what type of exercise group would be most appropriate for your neighborhood. Consider the demographics, interests, and resources of your street to determine whether running, walking, biking, aerobics, or another form of fitness would garner the most participation. Not sure? You could try going to door-to-door to ask other residents what kind of fitness group they would be interested in.
- Set a date. Once you decide what your fitness club will be all about, choose a date and time to get sweating. Whether that’s on a weekday evening or on a Sunday morning after worship services, try and be flexible to suit the most people. Of course, you won’t be able to find a time that will work for everyone, but as momentum gains, you can always set more dates.
- Get the word out. Use word of mouth, flyers, phone calls, or door-to-door outreach to let people know when your club will meet. People may also join in once they see the club out there moving, so don’t be afraid to start even if you have just a few people.
- Set a common goal. Boost motivation by setting a common goal for the group. Whether that’s simply to maintain attendance every week, or if you want to participate in a couch to 5k, setting a goal will help keep everyone motivated together
TN Run Club Toolkit: http://tn.gov/health/topic/run-clubs
- If your neighborhood lacks sidewalks, street lamps, or common spaces that make it difficult to exercise together, take your group to a local park.
- Start off slow, especially when starting a new fitness program, and allow for at least one or two days of rest between sessions.
- Remember to make sure that everyone stays hydrated before and after exercise. Take pictures of your neighborhood activities and brag on each other. We have Health Educators and Austin Peay Health Science Students here to help. So feel free to contact us for help at Healthier@mcgtn.net
Step 3: Start a Community Garden or Garden Sharing Program
What to do
Eating a diet full of colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to long-term health and wellness. But for many communities, accessing that fresh produce can be both inconvenient and costly. Areas where residents have a difficult time reaching affordable, healthy food options, due to the absence of grocery stores within easy traveling distance, are known as food deserts. If it’s hard for some of your neighbors to get healthy foods, or if those foods are more expensive than the more unhealthy options, you may be living in a food desert, and a community garden could be a great way to help eliminate those barriers to health.
To Do List:
- Desert or not? Determine how far your neighborhood is from the nearest grocery store, either by using a map or by commuting the distance yourself. Is the distance walkable? Are there any public transit routes from your neighborhood to the store? Could neighbors without access to a car easily get there?
- Have a Neighborhood Meeting. Starting and maintaining a garden requires shared commitment and teamwork. Organize a meeting in order to discuss the need and feasibility for a garden within your neighborhood, and brainstorm ideas for locations, resources, and guidelines. Will you be planning for a large community garden, or a garden sharing program, where individual families each grow their own produce to share with other residents?
- X Marks the Spot. Even if your neighborhood doesn’t fall within a food desert, you can still get growing with a community garden. Explore your neighborhood for communal spaces that might be suitable for a shared garden, with level ground and plenty of sunlight. Determine whether or not you’ll need community, or city, approval to develop a garden.
- Develop a Site Plan. You can make your garden as simple or complex as you’d like. Be sure to plan for boundaries, signage, composting, storage, access, and location and size of the garden beds.
- Get your Green Thumb. Once your site has been chosen, and the plans have been made and approved, it’s time to get growing. The initial work of preparing and building the garden beds will take collective effort, but once your garden has been laid, it’s time to celebrate and await your harvest!
- Healthy Neighborhoods Information: https://www.tn.gov/health/article/healthy-places-neighborhoods
- A Look Inside Food Deserts: http://www.cdc.gov/features/FoodDeserts/index.html
- Community Garden Toolkit: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=MP906
Reach out to your local UT Extension office for tips and resources in getting your garden started, or head to your local home and garden store for information and help as well. Take pictures of your neighborhood activities and brag on each other. We have Health Educators and Austin Peay Health Science Students here to help. So feel free to contact us for help at Healthier@mcgtn.net
Step 4: Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up day
What to do
Organize a clean-up day for your neighborhood or street, by inviting neighbors to spend a few hours picking up trash and debris. While getting to know your neighbors can actually boost your health, you’ll also be able to create a greater sense of community and pride as you increase the curb appeal, and collective property value, of your neighborhood.
To Do List:
- Identify the problem. Scope out specific areas of your neighborhood that need clean-up the most. Are there creeks or common areas filled with litter? What about empty lots?
- Reach out to your neighbors. Especially those who live closest to the areas you’ll be targeting to clean. Find out whether they might be interested, and remember that you only need a few volunteers to start. Try catching people when they’re coming home from work, and ask people for their names and phone numbers so you can call them when you’re ready to get together to plan your cleanup. You may even want to post flyers around the neighborhood to advertise the clean-up effort.
- Set a date. While won’t be any one time that works for everyone, try and settle on a date that works for the most people. Be sure to let your neighbors know when the clean-up will be taking place. Sometimes, it can help to set a consistent schedule. For instance, you could use the first Saturday of every month for a street clean-up.
- Bring supplies. Provide volunteers with trash bags and gloves, or ask neighbors to bring their own.
- How to Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up: http://www.grassrootsgrantmakers.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Neighborhood_Cleanup.pdf
Getting the kids and teens in your neighborhood involved can help to jumpstart the effort and help demonstrate the importance of community service. Take pictures of your neighborhood activities and brag on each other. We have Health Educators and Austin Peay Health Science Students here to help. So feel free to contact us for help at Healthier@mcgtn.net
Step 5: Last Step!!! Your Choice!!!
What to do
Congratulation!! You are more of an expert than when you started. You’re also aware of things that need to happen to make the place where you live, better and live longer. Choose one activity from https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/environmental/healthy-places/healthy-places/land-use/lu/neighborhoods.htmlthat you believe will help your neighborhood.
To Do List
- Pick an Activity from the Healthy Neighborhoods Link: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/environmental/healthy-places/healthy-places/land-use/lu/neighborhoods.html
- Let Us Know When you have Done All 5 and Get Recognized Healthier@mcgtn.net
Take pictures of your neighborhood activities and brag on each other. We have Health Educators and Austin Peay Health Science Students here to help. So feel free to contact us for help at Healthier@mcgtn.net