Photos Cameron Flaisch

As the weather warms, those who are looking for ways to feel better in body and mind can look to Harbin Clinic and their prescription to spend more summer days outdoors. “Prescribe Outside” is Harbin Clinic’s initiative designed to get the citizens of Northwest Georgia out in the sun to improve their physical health and emotional wellbeing. 

Harbin Clinic cardiologist Dr. Charlie Baggett says, “Maintaining an active lifestyle has numerous benefits for a person’s overall health. When done regularly, moderate physical activity can actually strengthen the heart muscle, which improves the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body and allows for more oxygen in our blood. When we live a heart-healthy way of life, we reduce our risk of coronary heart disease, reduce our blood pressure, and improve our mental health.” 

It’s no surprise that in this age of social media obsessions and the binge-watching of television shows that the average American spends up to 90% of their lives indoors. Lower obesity rates and improved motor development have been linked by research to spending time outdoors. Also, vitamin D levels are increased by healthy degrees of exposure to the sun. 

Levels of depression and stress are often decreased by spending time outside, too. And playing in the fresh air and sunshine sparks creativity and learning in children, increasing critical thinking and curiosity. However people enjoy being physically active outdoors, that is what Harbin Clinic encourages them to do. It’s a prescription for good health.

Nature’s community partners

Northwest Georgia is the perfect natural environment for an active outdoor life. That’s why Harbin Clinic is proud to partner with various organizations that promote such a lifestyle. For instance: the Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI), whose mission is, in their own words, to “protect, preserve, and restore one of North America’s most biologically diverse river systems.” 

They encourage people to explore the rivers by canoe and kayak, to swim, and to camp along the banks. Harbin also partners with TRED (Trails for Recreation and Economic Development of Rome/Floyd County), which provides events and initiatives that get people on the many trails around the local community.

“Performing physical activity outside is really important,” says Dr. Baggett. “I believe a lot of us suffer from what I like to call ‘nature deficit disorder.’ We spend most of our time indoors, and it can dramatically impact our physical and mental health. I encourage my patients to incorporate ‘wilderness therapy’ into their daily life. For example, taking a short walk along one of our numerous nature trails can improve cardiovascular health and reduce stress and anxiety.”

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Exploring northwest georgia

One way Harbin Clinic is encouraging the public to get some summer outside time is partnering with the YMCA of Rome and Floyd County to provide kickboxing for the community. This is fun for the whole family (ages eight and up) and is a way to get some good exercise, breathe in fresh air, and learn a little about self-defense. These Saturday sessions will be held at Grizzard Park from 10AM-11AM on July 1st, August 5th, and September 2nd. And it’s better than affordable; it’s free thanks to Harbin Clinic and the YMCA.

To keep the fun going, Harbin Clinic is sponsoring the Prescribe Outside Summer Scavenger Hunt. Participants can visit eight exciting locations around Northwest Georgia. If they take a photograph at five of these locations, they can be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a YETI cooler and a Harbin Clinic Prize Pack. Everyone who snaps pics of all eight locations will win a Harbin Clinic Prize Pack. A map of scavenger hunt locations can be downloaded from the site listed below. Photos from the scavenger-hunters can be submitted at this site as well. 

When it comes to reaping the benefits of time in the sunshine, Dr. Baggett sets a personal example for those in his life by practicing what he preaches. He says, “I’m an avid outdoorsman and truly believe in the benefits of being active outdoors and spending time outside. The advantages are numerous, and Harbin Clinic’s Prescribe Outside initiative is a great resource for those looking to kickstart a more outdoor lifestyle.”

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Segrest also describes the touching solidarity of the city. “At 7 pm everyone leans out of their windows and cheers, banging pots and pans. They are cheering for the healthcare workers. They are cheering for each other. Then an hour later the city stops. There is a silence for all those we lost.” 

With so much still uncertain in both New York City and Rome Georgia one thing is for certain- Rebecca Segrest is undoubtedly a hero. 

To be continued…..

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