Reclaim Your Health 4

Information, Inspiration, Initiative

Five years ago, Warren Cook launched a festival that today is changing lives, including his own, for the better. The Healthy Living Festival runs April 9-11 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and offers a full day of wellness featuring 30 free workshops, seminars, and cooking demonstrations. More than 200 exhibitors showcase the latest wellness products and Sharp HealthCare offers free medical testing throughout the weekend.

“I’m a health nut. I go out and run and bike or swim or do yoga just about every day and I do triathlons several times a year,” says Cook. But he saw a need in an aging population and wanted to do his part. “Seeing how our population grows both in numbers and in girth, I said, ‘You know, maybe I can help out a little bit’.”

At 72-years-old, Cook finds that putting on festivals is helping the community and himself. His mother died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 81. That loss is motivation for him and reason to help others keep fit and live a healthy life. “Keeping your mind busy…making sure you have lots of contact with people…those are the things research has shown really keep people going,” says Cook.

The Healthy Living Festival is designed to help people tackle their health issues and explore new ways to improve their lives. For instance, you can enjoy belly dancing and Zumba shows or take a yoga or Qigong class. Throughout the day, tidbits of wellness information pour out of every single booth. “For me, my posture isn’t that great. So we have a person who does posture alignment therapy,” says Cook. The festival attracts more than 8,000 attendees and is growing larger each year. Having done festivals for more than 40 years, Cook is highly experienced at bringing in the best exhibitors and attractions that generate interest with both those who are fit and active and those who want to learn how to regain their health.

“I hope people get more serious about their own health,” says Cook. He sees the festival, his labor of love, as a way to make an impact on the diseases that afflict millions. “My festival is only a small part because the whole country has a problem.” The good news is the message is getting out. While cancer, heart disease, and diabetes still claim lives, reports indicate that more Americans are physically active. In 2015, only 22.6 percent of U.S. adults reported they were sedentary; that’s an 11 percent decrease from 2014, according to America’s Health Rankings Annual Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities.

Cook believes you have to inspire enthusiasm to get people interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Coming to a festival where you learn new information, enjoy the activities, and meet others who are improving their lives is just the way to do it.  “It’s a celebration of health!”

Admission is $10 but free passes are available to print online.