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Kim Woods selects her exercising music on her smart phone and puts her headphones on before she heads out on her Friday morning walk. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Kim Woods selects her exercising music on her smart phone and puts her headphones on before she heads out on her Friday morning walk. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

The Dart: Work, exercise keeps local woman busy

Published 12:01am Monday, September 30, 2013

NATCHEZ — Kim Woods works a demanding schedule as a nurse that often has her pulling overnight shifts at Promise Hospital of Miss Lou.

When The Dart landed on Brookfield Drive Friday morning, it found Woods about to begin a 3-mile walk for exercise, despite recently completing a 12-hour work shift and a shopping trip for flowers.

The stress and demand of working as a nurse doesn’t make her ready for bed after working until 7:30 or 8 a.m., she said.

By choosing to work out three or four mornings each week after work, Woods is taking control of her life and her health. She said it provides her options and a sense of self.

Woods pumps her arms as she walks down Brookfield Drive as part of her regular 3-mile walk. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Woods pumps her arms as she walks down Brookfield Drive as part of her regular 3-mile walk. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

“I can’t operate on eight, 10 hours of sleep,” Woods said. “I’m used to six hours. I’m used to being busy. When you have things to do during the day and you work at night, what are you supposed to do?”

Woods doesn’t, however, make the statement as an excuse. She said staying active despite an unorthodox work schedule is a choice she has made for herself.

A 2002 Natchez High School graduate, Woods was always active in sports such as gymnastics as a youth. She said her professional work in the field of nursing took time away from working on herself, as she only recently began exercising in the last two months.

She has been a nurse for five years, working her first three years at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and the last two years at Promise Hospital in Vidalia.

She received her associate’s degree in Baton Rouge and returned home to earn a bachelor’s degree. Woods said her plan is to return to school in August to begin work on a master’s degree in nursing.

Although nursing can take her just about anywhere in the country, Woods said she likes the idea of staying in Natchez and near her mother, Katie Woods, who lives a couple of streets away from her.

Health and family mean a lot to Woods.

“There are a lot of health problems for African Americans from heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure and coronary disease,” Woods said. “I’m not on a diet, I just want to be heart healthy. I’m not interested in losing weight, but I am losing inches.”

Woods also said she likes knowing as her career progresses locally in the health care industry, she will be better equipped to help out her mother should health concerns become an issue in the future.

Today is Woods’ birthday, and the recently engaged nurse just finished a work-free weekend by utilizing some well-earned vacation time.

“Exercising is about making better choices,” she said. “This is what I am doing for me.”