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Helping Medford Residents Lead Healthier Lives: Featuring Medford Health Matters and CrossFit H2O

By Kristen Bosse

Living a healthy lifestyle may mean something different from one person to the next. For some, health is defined by living a disease-free life. For others, healthy is being able to play with grandchildren or perhaps adhering to a weekly exercise schedule. Though the definition of healthy may differ between people, living a healthy lifestyle is a fundamental component to achieving your optimal mental and physical well-being. Though many factors contribute to your overall health, diet and physical activity are leading determinants of your level of health and quality of life.

Medford Health Matters

Medford Health Matters is a community coalition with a mission to foster an environment of wellness and healthy lifestyles for all those who live, learn, work, and play in the City of Medford. Originally partnered with Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the coalition became an independent entity in 1999 and has been reflecting the diversity of Medford ever since. They have partnered with many different organizations in the town that focus on different aspects of health in the community including the well-bring of children and adolescents, seniors, people with health and mental health needs, and their shared environment. Some examples of these organizations include but are not limited to Tufts University, Hallmark Health, Green Medford, etc.

Medford Health Matters has been working for years to make sure that their community is one that promotes a healthier lifestyle. Syrah McGivern, Mass in Motion Coordinator for the City of Medford, was nice enough to share some of the ways her town is helping their residents. Not only are there plenty of gyms, dance classes, karate and yoga studios, but there are also a number of projects underway in Medford to make the town more walkable and bikeable. Medford is also home to numerous open spaces including parks and trailheads leading into the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a very large and beloved natural area shared by several adjacent communities. Healthy eating is also promoted throughout the town, with access to the Medford Farmers Market throughout the Summer and Fall. The market gives Medford residents access to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Although healthy eating and exercise are essential when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, other initiatives have also become important to this coalition over the years. Medford Health Matters is concerned with a variety of issues related to a healthy community: diversity, education, recreation for all ages and disabilities, economic development, and creating a healthy environment. "A community's strength and well-being are linked to the connectivity of different cultural connections", says Susan Altman, a current Board of Directors member at Medford Health Matters. Those working for Medford Health Matters have partnered with many organizations in order to make sure their goal of community diversity is constantly placed on a pedestal. Some of these include Team Medford (which focuses on youth), Zonta Club of Medford, and the Medford Office of Human Diversity. The residents of this community are constantly encouraged to lead a more diverse and healthier lifestyle.

CrossFit H2O

One facility in particular has done a great job encouraging their members to not only push themselves physically, but turn this into living an overall healthier lifestyle. Crossfit H2O in Medford, led by Coach and Owner Benjamin Frank and Jaffney Roode, has been helping people transform their bodies for years. The coaches perform high intensity workouts that utilize your whole body, instead of only focusing on a certain body part. All of this is done with no headphones, tapping into our human needs for functional movement and social interaction. The coaches have found that this small group training approach not only allows their members to enjoy themselves through interactions, but helps members to stay accountable for their fitness goals as they return each week!

Living around the city of Boston (and perhaps anywhere), you are bound to hear about the new Crossfit trend. It truly is the up and coming way to work out and get your body into tip-top shape. However, many people have misconstrued this activity as one that can only be done by experienced athletes or those that are already in shape. "CrossFit is a GREAT way for normal people to improve their health and fitness", Roode claims. "We have a three-week beginner class to make sure that everyone learns proper techniques before they start attending regular classes. This way, we make sure both beginners and those more experienced can all workout together!" The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience.

However, when it comes to being a healthier person, eating cleaner and following a more balanced diet is also important. The Crossfit facility encourages their members to improve their diets with Nutrition Challenges, amongst other things. One example was their "Devils of the Western Diet Challenge" held four weeks over the summer. Participants follow a balanced Paleo diet and attend class throughout the four-week period, all while being supported by the other members in the challenge! If you'd like a bit more guidance, there is also a full-time Nutritional Counselor named Allison Nichols ready to lend a hand. The staff is full of people who are ready and willing to help you in your journey to a healthier life.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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