Petersburg DB Donamatrix offers tips for a healthy lifestyle in his hometown

Celebrity fitness coach DB Donamatrix, VSU alumni, begins the first 6-mile family bike ride on Donamatrix Day on April 2, 2022 at the Petersburg Sports Complex.

PETERSBURG — How did Petersburg-born Don “DB Donamatrix” Brooks, a famous fitness trainer, react when his hometown was once again ranked as the unhealthiest city in Virginia?

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison released the 2022 County Health Rankings results in April. Petersburg finished bottom-dead for the fifth straight year.

In 2018, DB Donamatrix was recognized for its contributions to the fitness and wellness industry. The city of Petersburg has declared April 3rd as Don-A-Matrix Day to encourage all citizens to promote good health activities and get physically active.

“Donamatrix Day is special to me,” said DB Donamatrix, a VSU alumni. “My mission is to make a difference that will have a lasting impact on children, families, schools, government and everyone at home.”

Donamatrix Day at the Petersburg Sports Complex on April 2, 2022.

In March, DB Donamatrix was open about how painful it is to read negative headlines about his hometown. The man with the plan, who wants to change the narrative of Petersburg’s health outcomes, comments on the 2022 report produced by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I’m impressed by Petersburg’s 90 percent access rate to sports facilities. That’s huge,” said DB Donamatrix. “The 47 percent mammography screening is also noteworthy. The Mayor, City Council and Petersburg are doing a lot to help improve the city’s health ranking.”

Petersburg’s child poverty rate of 36%, single-parent household rate of 52%, and the rate of 34% traveling long distances alone by car caught the attention of DB Donamatrix and sparked a discussion about movement psychology.

Four-year-old Joliana Johnson skates during Donamatrix Day at the Petersburg Sports Complex April 2, 2022.

“Don’s most popular slogan ‘Mind Right, Body Ready’ was inspired by his ongoing study of exercise psychology, which focuses on the mind-body connection and fosters participation and joy through movement,” said Teri Benson, a key Donamatrix Day organizer . “Theoretical and conceptual frameworks of movement psychology are used to carefully plan and conduct the Donamatrix Day.”

“Yes, Petersburg has made sports opportunities available to the people who live there, but those same people are single parents who work hard to take care of their household financially…they pay rent, mortgages, bills,” DB Donamatrix said. “Until we are able to reduce child and city-wide poverty rates, improve local employment opportunities that reduce daily car commutes, and encourage dual-income households, families will continue to struggle buy better food choices and make attending free training sessions held at local community centers or churches a priority.”

Participants in the Donamatrix Day 6-mile Family Bike Tour participate in free fruit at the Petersburg Sports Complex on April 2, 2022.

Suggestions from DB Donamatrix:

  • Integrate fitness and exercise facilities into city buildings and schools.
  • Install exercise equipment in outdoor parks.
  • Replace typical vending machine snacks and drinks with healthier options.
  • Start or end staff meetings, the school day, and classes with 5-10 minute exercises, meditation, or yoga to influence exercise and positive mental health.

“Solutions that increase daily/hourly exercise without disrupting family routines before or after work or school are important,” said DB Donamatrix. “It’s also important to find ways to lead a healthy lifestyle without spending money on additional gas or transportation costs.”

Donamatrix Day participants will show their hula hoop skills on April 2, 2022 at the Petersburg Sports Complex.

Negative headlines hurt DB Donamatrix:Petersburg ranked as the unhealthiest city in Virginia: Fitness guru offers ways to close health gaps

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Donamatrix day

“One of the difficulties we faced in running Donamatrix Day is recruiting sponsors. Not many health, fitness and wellness companies believe in a city that ranks as the unhealthiest, or a city that might not draw them much attention,” said Benson. “But Don never gets discouraged. He makes progress every year and finances most of the fitness festival himself.”

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