Nashville Black Wellness Collective inspires hundreds of Black people to get active and prioritize health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — African Americans are two times more likely to die from heart disease and 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure compared to white Americans according to the CDC.

Dr. Kimberly and Claude Walker, a couple from Nashville, are helping hundreds of other Black people fight against this statistic by getting them started on a wellness journey through the Nashville Black Wellness Collective.

The Walkers founded the collective in 2018, then it exploded more than they could have imagined during the start of the pandemic in 2020. Now, the Nashville Black Wellness Collective is an award-winning organization, bringing together a supportive group of people who want to break the barriers surrounding physical and mental health in the black community.

“We feel like we want to create a space to make people, basically inviting them, to actually want to take on their health, want to be more healthy, and black people really need that,” said Claude.

It was not that long ago when segregation kept Black people out of pools and state parks. Kimberly said now they are the generation to reclaim being a part of nature.

“To show our community that there are so many different ways that we can practice wellness, not just one way. And that’s been a fun part of the journey that people are trying new things and getting comfortable with getting out of their comfort zone and like, ‘Okay, we do this. These spaces are for us,'” said Kimberly.

The collective does activities such as yoga in the woods, hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, horseback riding, white water rafting, yearly retreats, fitness classes, and even traveling to new countries.

“We actually are the definition of we outside,” said Claude.

Years before the collective was even a thought, their wellness journey started together with the goal of being the healthiest versions of themselves for their future daughter.

“I was really going through an experience with infertility and my motivation was to get as healthy as possible to increase my chances of giving birth to my baby,” said Kimberly.

“I had high blood pressure, and I just didn’t feel good at all. I was always tired,” said Claude. “Honestly I just didn’t want to die. It was literally a life or death situation for me and that’s what made me jump on this path, and that’s still in my mind every day. I want to be healthy, I want to be here, make sure I’m here for my baby girl.”

Collectively they have lost over 140 pounds together. Now their 2-year-old daughter Adah joins them on their hikes. They say they’re exposing their daughter to health and wellness and getting other adults on their adventures helps them all start new, positive, generational cycles.

“That’s how a lot of people discover the outdoors and recreation, someone has handed it down to you. So if we can expose that to the parents, or even grandparents and aunts and uncles, then they go back and take that to their children,” said Kimberly.

The Walkers said the collective has grown so much that people are traveling across the country to join their activities.

You can join them on your wellness journey through a monthly membership to the collective or you can pay to join some of their events individually. Head to their website to join and check out their future events.

July is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Mental Health Month, and in honor of this the collective is holding a hike on July 22 open to all without requiring a membership.

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