Jan 25, 2013

It seems as if African Americans fall in the lowest category of every public health and socio-economic statistic. I will never say there is no merit to the data. However, we are forever trying to live down the perception the statistics portray.

When it comes to health and fitness, the perception is that black women especially do not exercise and that we are in the kitchen preparing the most unhealthy meals. Personally, I do not relate to this perception. Growing up in a predominantly black area, I saw the full spectrum of the healthy and unhealthy. I had plenty  examples of black females participating in sports. In school at lunchtime, I recall many teachers lacing up their tennis shoes to lap the hallways. In warmer weather, they would walk outside around the school campus. I participated in sports. My family has a lineage of runners. My father was active and I have vivid memories of my mother exercising along with the Christian exercise lady on tv. As an adult it seems like the majority of women that I encountered had some form of exercise regimen. One of my former co-pastors won awards for powerlifting!

Even the women I know that do not have a regular exercise regimen, they do get out there periodically walking and bike riding. Like I said, I will never say there is no merit to the statistics but we need a paradigm shift to the healthy and productive behaviors that are indeed present in our community. It is annoying to be relegated to someone else's narrative about us. It is even more annoying to be portrayed as shallow and vain stating that we are more concerned with our hair than our health. Even our surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, rebuked us for that. Sure there are some shallow sistas out there. But how about highlighting the ones that defy the stereotypes and there are plenty. The women in the picture are a mother-daughter duo that have fitness dvd called Black Girls Workout Too. I am not specifically endorsing them, but I did find this generational pairing fascinating.  I like what they represent. We do workout and we are very concerned with our health.

I will close with an update on my Shred journey. I am 4 weeks into the 6-week program.  I have been faithful and disciplined. I enjoy the challenge. The great thing about this program is that it allows me to make substitutions for my world. At my last weigh in I lost 7 pounds. I noticed that my pants are a bit looser and in fact I am slimming. I am not as concerned with the number on the scale as I am with inches. I will remeasure at the end of the six weeks. I do not like the weekly weigh in as it can be discouraging. The number on the scale does not always reflect what truly is taking place in the body. More than anything the program is enabling me to create some new habits that will carry me beyond the six weeks. I am currently on vacation but I am about to hit the gym. If you defy the stereotype sound off in the comments section. It will be great to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. Please, this is such a myth.


    I jogged through my teens, and continue to work out six days a week as a full grown black woman. As a matter of fact, I just got back from my daily 1 hour work out and I need to hit the shower - but wait, I gotta do a few more crunches on my roman chair. Ciao!