Adult kickball league gets residents moving

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Through the initiative of Nat West – a nurse practitioner for the Natchez Veteran Affairs office and working for Merit Health when needed – and help from the City of Vicksburg Parks and Recreation, a simple, yet exciting way to get people moving has swept through Vicksburg.

West, a lifelong resident of Vicksburg, established the River City Kickball and Social Sports adult kickball league, which meets on Sunday afternoons beginning at 3 p.m. at City Park and caters to adults 30-years-old and older. The league is inclusive and welcomes players and teams of all backgrounds.

West’s main goal of the league is to use kickball as a way to prevent chronic and metabolic health issues.

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“My plan was to get at least 60 participants, whether they were patients or members of the community, to get up and get active,” West said. “I wanted to do something about the obesity, diabetes and hypertension in our community.”

The simplicity of the game has exhibited itself as a brilliant way to motivate people for exercise since it is easy enough to jump into after warming up the body.

West said finding the motivation to exercise is tough but when doing something fun with a team of supportive people, it becomes easier. She also added that by just getting up and being active can go a tremendous way in improving a person’s overall health.

“If we can reduce your weight by 5 to 10 percent, you can drop that bottom number on your blood pressure significantly,” West said. “The weight reduction also decreases your risk for what we call metabolic syndrome.”

Metabolic syndrome is a compilation diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

“Getting the weight off can get you off a pill. If you’re on five blood pressure medicines, losing 10 percent of your body weight more than likely can take you down to three. If you’re on one pill you may end up on no pills. We just want to get everyone involved and get our community better,” West said.

Lester Martin, coach for the Free Ballers said it’s a struggle to get back into exercising if a person isn’t active or just participates in their kids’ activities, but suggested stretching during idle time.

“Stretching is the best thing to do to come out here and play,” Martin said. “You can’t just come out here and say ‘because it’s kickball, we’re just going to kick the ball and run.’ You have to stretch to the best that you know how.”

Martin said he appreciates what the Wests have done for the Vicksburg community with the kickball league.

“You see everyone is involved. We have eight teams, we started off with five and we have more people to play,” Martin said. “I just appreciate it and hope it continues.”