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Healthy Face: Molly Cooper

Each week, Healthy Bridgeport features a "Healthy Face." Today, we shine the spotlight on Molly Anderson Cooper. Meet her and learn about her healthy journey ....

I have grown up in Bridgeport most of my life after my family moved here from North Canton, Ohio when I was young. I graduated from Bridgeport High School and went on to study Occupational Therapy at WVU where I received my Masters of Occupational Therapy in 2002. I am married to Jimmy Cooper and we have a blended family of 6 children and 5 dogs. They are my world, and each of my children are so unique with different interests and strengths.

I work for West Virginia's early intervention program, West Virginia Birth to Three, where we work with families in their homes and community settings. One thing I love about my career is that I have had the privilege to watch children and families overcome and conquer obstacles. I have learned so much about different family dynamics and how each is unique and important in so many ways. I love watching families bond and work together towards goals. What I have learned from so many children and families over the years has been invaluable as well as life changing. Throughout the years, I recognized more and more the importance that learning through movement has on early child development.

I love seeing families and children outside and enjoying nature as the benefits are endless. Two of my colleagues, Jennifer Herrod and Meredith Alvarez, and I decided we wanted to try to offer an opportunity for children to come to an environment where they would could move, interact, and most importantly have fun through a variety of sensory-based play. This is how our class, Sensocise was developed at Main Street Fitness. We are hoping to start this class up again in the near future

What is my favorite self-help book? I haven't read many self-help books, but I do find journaling and jotting my thoughts down very beneficial. I would have to say that my favorite self-help book is the Bible.

My favorite healthy meal is a delicious salmon salad! My current favorite workout would have to be hiking outdoors with my dogs and children when I can get them on board!

The pandemic has been challenging to my overall health and fitness, both mentally and physically. I have learned a lot about myself during this time. For me, I have to include my overall health as part of my daily routine. If I have time to meal prep or fit in a workout, great! If not, I have learned not to beat myself up and have realized it's just as beneficial to go outside, breathe some fresh air and take a short walk.

I have so many motivational quotes that I love, but I always go back to two simple words that I have always used with my children since they were little. When something would happen in our family that was upsetting such as an argument or mistake someone made, we would always wake up the next morning, recognize what we could learn and how to be better because of it, but most importantly we learned to embrace the ability to start fresh with a clean slate. That turned into our family motto and we use it often....START FRESH!!!

I am not sure when my health journey started as I have always been active throughout my life, but I would say that after I had my children I started recognizing that health encompassed more than just physical health. Mental health and wellbeing is critical to the concept of a healthy lifestyle and maintaining this balance is a continuous process of growth for me.

Some tiny habits I recommend to people starting on their journey? Go outside! Even if it's just to look up at the sky or watch the rain from your porch. Take time to just go outside to take a breath. Dance to music! Dance with your kids, partner, friends and have fun! Play! We are never too old to play so pick what you love and do it!

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