first_imgBy J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFRO“Last set, best set,” Mark Harding says, his legs taped together.He’s doing resistance training at MedStar Good Samaritan’s gymnasium.Each step up, each step out, stretching against the tape, is as smooth and even as when he started. Things are going so well Harding will be able to complete a full circuit of the gymnasium track unassisted. He came in on this day with a walker.Anthony Watters takes Mark Harding through a series of exercises to improve his strength and coordination.Harding is recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a long period of hypoxia. The loss of oxygen to his brain had taken away a lot of his coordination.At his side through the whole process in Anthony Watters, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS).“We want to make him (as) functional as possible, it’s hard to gauge how much he can progress because we haven’t been doing this in the clinical setting long enough,” Watters told the AFRO. “My goal is to have him interact and be a part of the greater community again and not be confined to his home or a hospital space. And I think we’re making tremendous strides toward that.”Before the one-on-one with Harding, Watters had been leading a Rock Steady Boxing class, an innovative program that research indicates is helpful for treating other neurodegenerative symptoms that come with disorders like Parkinson’s disease.Anthony Watters takes Mark Harding through a series of exercises to improve his strength and coordination.The pace is slowed down, but Watters is taking his students with Parkinson’s through the complicated footwork of jump rope ladders and the advance across the classroom ends with each student putting a solid and satisfying knee into a heavy bag.“Movement is medicine,” is the mantra. And Watters wants to take his experience and practices to the larger community of Baltimore.He’s created the brand Drink More Watters as a start.“It’s a lifestyle brand that uses exercise, water, lifestyle and culture to create healthier communities,” Watters said.Watters’ particular approach has caught the eye and the funding of Baltimore Corps, a fellowship with the mission to “enlist talent to accelerate social innovation in Baltimore and advance a citywide agenda for equity and racial justice.”Watters is one of Baltimore Corps’s 15 Elevation Awardees. He now has a $10,000 grant to get his business and brand started.“Along with the money though, more importantly in my opinion, is the workshopping, engagement, assistance, everything that they do to help you be successful,” Watters said.He’s already publishing through DrinkMoreWatters.com, most recently about navigating Baltimore’s overlapping food deserts.But, in addition to hydration and nutrition, Watters hopes to save lives with exercise. Watters explained. He said that while lives lost to violence in Baltimore are high, deaths from heart disease and stroke, and the complications that come with a sedentary lifestyle, eclipse those figures.Watters hopes to take his message and practice of diet and exercise into his community, looking to expand on the results that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) achieved by funding similar programs in the YMCA.“If we do this and we use exercise, we can have better health outcomes, but save insurance companies money, save hospitals money, but most importantly, save the people money, the community money, the patient’s money,” Watters said. “Healthcare is becoming ridiculously expensive and exercise is a low overhead modality that we can use to effect change.”last_img

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