Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland on Coming Back From an Injury

You can vote for Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland through November 15.

Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland

You can vote for Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland through November 15.

We’re still in full-swing of our 2018 Health Hero Challenge presented by Independence Blue Cross, folks. While the voting on our semi-finalists is now closed (but we’ll be announcing our top three finalists very soon!), we’re still seeking votes for our Health Hero VIPs.

Our Health Hero VIPs (which stands for Very Influential Philadelphians) are all probably names you’ve heard before — Christian Crosby, Tracy Davidson, and Wendell Holland — and they’re currently facing off for a $2,500 donation to the charities of their choices.

We’ve spent the past few days helping you get better acquainted with our VIPs — now we’d like to introduce you to Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland and the causes that matter most to him.

Read on for more information about Holland — then head right here to vote once a day, every day, through November 15!

Meet Health Hero VIP Wendell Holland

What I do: I do what I absolutely love. I create art, meet new people, and work with some of my closest friends on a daily basis. More specifically, I am a furniture designer and builder at Beve Unlimited. Beve Unlimited is a Philadelphia-based custom furniture company specializing in reclaimed wood.

My chosen charity: I support The PALM (Center for Positive Aging in Lower Merion) in Ardmore, which is the senior center in Ardmore, because I grew up in Ardmore and have always felt a need to give back to my community. My father, Wen Sr. instilled the important value of always going back, reaching back, and giving back to your community in me long ago. The PALM is a staple in Ardmore, and my grandmother, Nana, spent some wonderful years there as she was getting older. She’d go there for a day full of activities, and then she’d come home with stories of what her and her friends did that day. My family is so thankful that a place like that existed right in Ardmore, and, for that reason, I’ve chosen to support the PALM again and again. Two years ago, my furniture company Beve Unlimited donated three giant reclaimed wood planters to the PALM because they needed something to house their organic garden. Today I wish to do more, so I choose The PALM as the charity to which I will donate any winnings.

What motivates you to try to make Philadelphia a healthier place? 
I’ve always tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Growing up, my father, Wendell Holland Sr., always stressed the importance of “faith and fitness,” and he always put me in competitive sports. At Harriton High School I captained our football, basketball, and track teams. As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried to consciously make healthier decisions, and that’s why I still work out regularly and I’m a pescatarian. I just want to live a healthy lifestyle, and live as long as I can. As such, the healthier my city is, the easier it is for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The more healthy restaurants, gyms of all sorts, and outdoor spaces conducive to working out (Fairmount Park, the Art Museum stairs, Kelly Drive, etc.), the easier it is for Philadelphians to maintain healthy lifestyles. Being healthy is sexy, being healthy is cool, and a healthy lifestyle allows you to live longer. I wish all those things on my beloved city.

Describe a health-related turning point in your life. 
When I turned 30, I tore my ACL. I had just moved back to Philly from a very healthy year of living in LA. In LA, I was hiking Runyon Canyon, hooping at Venice Beach, and swimming, all on a daily basis. I came home in the best shape of my adult life, and, that same year I turned 30. Within months of my birthday, I tore my ACL in a basketball rec league, and my game was forever changed.  I didn’t know if I’d ever play basketball or do anything athletic again. But I was very determined. At that point in life, I was a law clerk for Judge Gregory Smith in City Hall. There I was just three blocks away from the Bellevue, where Bob Molluro was running the best rehab facility in the best gym in the city. I went there two to three times a week, and he had me vigorously rehabbing my knee, and quickly had me on the Bellevue basketball court doing slow, deliberate basketball drills as rehab. Within seven months I was playing again, but I was playing a different game. I no longer thought I was invincible. I didn’t slash to the hoop as much, and I began shooting a lot more three’s. It was when I tore my ACL at the age of 30 that I truly realized that I should listen to my body, and take care of my temple. From then on I continued to work out regularly, and I also became a pescatarian just to live a healthier lifestyle.

What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
If I were in control, I’d further incentivize local farmers here inside Philadelphia to harvest healthy produce to sell at farmers markets and local restaurants. This will give more options to our citizens to eat healthy, as we’ll have more farm-to-table outlets.

What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen?
I find it important to bring friends into my workout regimen. Whether I’m bringing my buddies to come play basketball with me, or if I’m going to a fit camp, I enjoy working out with friends. Bringing others into the fold also encourages accountability both ways. I hold friends accountable, and in turn, they keep me on my job because I feel an obligation to them to get out there with them.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice?
Imagine that finish line, but set and accomplish intermediate goals. Sometimes after a few weeks of working out it becomes daunting not seeing results. But if you stay the course you’ll certainly see results. So instead of dreaming about losing 50 pounds, and being discouraged when it doesn’t happen overnight, give yourself a weekly goal of losing five pounds, and maybe walking an extra mile a day. This goal seems much more attainable than the 50-pound weight loss, and you’re adding a not-so-difficult walk into your workout.

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