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Greeting Sisters, Saludos Hermanas,

Healthworks Fitness Center for women is kicking off this year by creating this space for fruitful exchange of information and dialogue.

This will be a space for Women of Color, African American, Latinas, Immigrants and all those who want to celebrate, share our strengths and struggles in our search for balance. We are the experts in our own lives but it is that least expected moment that the words of our SISTERS, HERMANAS, reaches us and we stand up and Say, I HEAR YOU!!

Balance can be attained by both internal and external work. Our internal work, our spiritual work is a part of our being. As Cornell West wrote in the December Essence magazine, yes a Man,! “Three pillars of deep spirituality are faith, hope and love-yet it is courage that enables all three.”

Courage gets us up every day to face our work, our family responsibilities and our daily obstacles. Courage is what makes us stop and say, “I am spiritually strong, now I need to be physically strong.” I know; I do not need to tell Women of Color how to be spiritually strong but there is always something we can learn from each other. It would be nice to hear from you and you will hear from those I will interview, ways to gain such internal courage.

I shared with my cousin the idea of this ongoing blog. She said to me, we, Women of Color, need to be in a good place emotionally, in order to get ourselves physically fit. She like many of us, is afraid to lose her body to the point that we do not recognize our own movement.

Bell Hooks wrote in Sisters of the Yam, ”Healing occurs through testimony, through gathering together everything available to you and reconciling.” So today, MY SISTERS, HERMANAS, I say to you, STAND UP, I see you and let us move together towards physical health.

Women of Color bear a disproportionate burden and are at high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, cancer and obesity. One of our biggest factors in our health crisis is STRESS. A CDC reports states the following: 

  • African-American women are at particularly high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, in part due to a high proportion of such factors as hypertension and obesity.
  • By middle age, type 2 diabetes is at least twice as common among women of color than among white women. For women aged 50-59 years, the prevalence is 24% for Mexican Americans, 23% for African Americans and 9.7% for whites.

To begin our program with some new energy I first need to say, LADIES, MUJERES, BOUNDARIES!!!!! One of the key factors that get in the way of us taking care of ourselves, is that we do not make “US” a priority. First priority, create your “ME TIME.”

We can begin with small steps. Come into the gym and walk on the treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure you are moving your hands to get a full body workout. My trainer Sarah Boller always reminds me to do this. To get your heart going, raise the incline to 1.0 if that is comfortable, raise it a little more. Walking can be a great exercise to begin your day. Begin at a pace that is comfortable to you.

We are women who like to move. We can enjoy our workout by listening to some uplifting soul, salsa and R&B music. Here are a few songs that get me lost in the moment. I find myself running longer so I can finish listening to the song. Sometimes the back in the day music does it best!!!

 

MUSIC

Optimistic- Sounds of Blackness, Me sube la Birilubina-Juan Luis Guerra y 4-40 (Cualquiera musica de este grupo!)-Looking for you-Kirk Franklin, I’m Every Woman- both the Chaka Khan and the Whitney Houston version-La Negra tiene Tumbao-La Reina de la Salsa-Celia Cruz, anything by Earth Wind & Fire, anything by Hector Lavoe and Mary J. Blige-I’m Fine.

 

I hope this is a new beginning for all of us. I look forward to sharing, compartiendo, with you, and learning, aprendiendo, from you.

I leave you with the words of Susan Taylor, “You have to give yourself to yourself before your give yourself away.”

 

Peace-paz,

Yvette

 

Please visit www.cdc.gov for more information

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