Health and Wellness in New Orleans East
Dr. Keith C. Ferdinand, MD advises using neighborhood amenities to live healthier
Written by Kevin O’Sullivan
As summer nears, people everywhere are stepping outside, enjoying the sunshine and getting back in shape. With top-tier amenities such as Joe W. Brown Park, the Audubon Nature Center and miles of walking and biking tracks throughout the city, New Orleans East offers plenty of programs and opportunities for its health conscious community.
Living a healthy life means adequate nutrition, access to primary and specialty care and physical activity. “Regular physical activity” according to Dr. Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, “has been shown to help control blood pressure, decrease the onset of diabetes, improve physical strength, decrease psychological stress and improve the quality and length of life.”
Dr. Ferdinand is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a board member of the New Orleans East Hospital, a longtime citizen of New Orleans East and an advocate for the health benefits of utilizing the many resources that New Orleans East has to offer. “One of the best things about living in New Orleans East is the newly refurbished Joe W. Brown Park,” Dr. Ferdinand says. “In Joe W. Brown Memorial Park there are acres of green space and state-of-the-art facilities in which members of our community can exercise on a regular basis.”
These facilities include the newly refurbished basketball and tennis courts, a gymnasium, an indoor pool and much more. “The memorial swimming pool is an excellent facility for those who have an inability to do brisk walking because of joint pain or deconditioning,” says Dr. Ferdinand. “Classes and events are always being developed for various activities using the Joe W. Brown gymnasium, pool and track and citizens should take advantage of the opportunities as these courses and seminars become available.”
Attached to Joe W. Brown Memorial Park is the Audubon Nature Center, 86 acres of protected nature and walking trails. The center is just reopening after having been closed down since Hurricane Katrina and “will feature a unique means of not only learning about the environmental history of New Orleans” says Dr. Ferdinand, “but a place where a person can relieve stress while also getting the ability to continue their walking program.
“The Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park and the Audubon Nature Center are organizing many ongoing and upcoming events. For instance, this non-profit organization has held an annual ‘back to nature heart walk’. The event allows citizens of New Orleans East the opportunity to enjoy the green space and walking paths, leading all the way to the New Orleans East Hospital where the event ends with heart screenings and education relating to heart disease and blood pressure.”
If a person does not want to utilize Joe W. Brown Park, there are ample streets with elevated walking and bicycling paths throughout New Orleans East, and even more, are being developed. Dr. Ferdinand stresses that although it may seem that exercise is synonymous with heavy weight lifting or long distance running, “most studies suggest that a total of 150 minutes of at least moderate physical activity per week helps to control blood pressure and is an adequate goal for heart healthy exercise.” These 150 minutes of exercise can include activities such as brisk walking, water aerobics, yoga, gardening or riding a bicycle for thirty minutes a day.
All across East New Orleans, these resources promote safe exercise practices for a healthier heart and mind, all the while beautifying the area. “The New Orleans East Hospital ensures adequate care including emergency and elective care,” explains Dr. Ferdinand. “The East New Orleans Regional Library allows people access to research living a healthy lifestyle, and the amenities at Joe W. Brown Memorial Park make it possible to have a fun, productive and meaningful active lifestyle in the now more beautiful than ever.”