Charlotte J. Nash | Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

Free yoga in Gwinnett County parks, an initiative of Parks and Recreation’s award-winning Live Healthy Gwinnett program, is expanding this fall due to its popularity.

Led by certified instructor volunteers, yoga sessions will be offered at Vines Park on Sundays, Alexander Park and Ronald Reagan Park on Tuesdays, McDaniel Farm Park (Toddler & Me) on Wednesdays, Simpsonwood Park on Thursdays, and Freeman’s Mill, Little Mulberry Park and the Historic Courthouse on Saturdays. Times vary. Details will be posted soon at www.gwinnettparks.com.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Live Healthy Gwinnett, which launched in 2014 as a partnership between the Gwinnett County Department of Community Services and Eastside Medical Center.

In those five years, they’ve worked with 145 agencies and groups to put on 787 programs and events that have drawn almost 24,000 participants plus 18,500 summer campers. So far this year, 182 volunteers have put in more than 700 hours running 51 programs and events with 4,544 participants and 30 partners. The goals are to promote healthy, active lifestyles and engage residents in personal wellness, focusing on four major areas: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Get Checked, and Be Positive.

A 2013 study showed about 20 percent of Gwinnett residents get no leisure-time physical activity and more than a quarter of the adult population is at higher risk for serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, and stroke. 

In response, Live Healthy Gwinnett has developed the Be Active Gwinnett mobile recreation truck that brings sports and physical activities directly to underserved communities. It visits housing authorities, apartment complexes, child care facilities, extended stay hotels, faith-based facilities, new home developments, schools, camps, parks, afterschool programs, libraries, and community events.

Stretch Zone

The truck brings activities such as obstacle courses, hula hoops, jump ropes, broad jump, agility hurdles, giant tunnels, pop-up soccer, jumbo stacks, parachutes, fitness spots/dice, gaga ball, flag football, junior golf, nine squares in the air, bubble soccer, and more. If you’d like to request a visit by the Be Active Gwinnett truck to your community, call 770.822.8825 or email info@livehealthygwinnett.com.

A related effort, called Harvest Gwinnett, is now building the first of three community gardens in County parks, working with Georgia Gwinnett College, the Sheriff’s Office, and the city of Lawrenceville. It’s a low-cost, sustainable effort to help address food deserts and counteract food insecurities faced by seniors and families. The first garden is at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville. Water Resources has sponsored a similar community garden at the Lanier Filter Plant since 2008.

Live Healthy Gwinnett also sponsors free community health fairs including one at Bogan Park on July 27, Best Friend Park on September 27, and Lenora Park on November 9.

In June, Live Healthy Gwinnett attracted more national attention when the National Recreation and Park Association awarded its Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity to Tina Fleming, community services director, and Lindsey Jorstad, outreach manager. The well-deserved award honored them for implementing “a systems change approach to reduce health disparities in his/her community within the past two years.” The foundation seeks to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live in healthy environments.

Gwinnett County wants you and your family to be active, eat healthy, get checked, and be positive. So here’s to your health.