WATCH: No time? 5 ways to add wellness and exercise to your hustle

For "Salon 5" Quentin Vennie, "Strong in the Broken Places" author, shares wellness tips for anyone to fight stress

By D. Watkins
Published June 14, 2017 4:00PM (EDT)

This Salon video was produced by Alexandra Clinton

Growing up as a black person in a poor neighborhood in America is tough. It’s kind of like a running a hurdle race while blindfolded. Now let me tell you what those hurdles are — trashy school systems filled with unsupportive teachers and aloof administrators, the overmilitarized police force with many employees itchy to assault anyone with black skin, the lost street dudes, the lack of fresh food places and how it takes 20 plus minutes to get an apple that’s not even organic. And that doesn't even include the crooked preachers who suck up every bit of disposable income, the lack of employment opportunities, health care disparities and the phony politicians who specialize in making promises that they can not keep. These hurdles have become almost traditions allowing them to continue year in and year out.

I fell victim to each and every hurdle — mainly for the same reason: I was blindfolded so I didn’t even know that they existed. And now that I’m well read and aware, I work three times as hard to avoid them while teaching others like me to do the same. With that being acknowledged, I have no time to focus on my own well-being­­ — taking time to relax, meditate, exercise and, well, breathe. Or at least that is what I thought until fitness expert Quentin Vennie stopped by the Salon studio to tell me about his new memoir "Strong in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Addiction and Redemption Through Wellness." The book traces Vennie’s compelling personal story along with some simple ways to cope with the daily stresses of life and what a person as busy as me can do to maintain my sanity.

Now watch an episode of "Salon 5" as Vennie describes five natural ways to fight stress and maintain wellness (yes, exercise is among them) even if your calendar is full.

D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir." His latest book, "We Speak For Ourselves: A Word From Forgotten Black America," is out now.

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