No, this post is not about racial discrimination at the gym. This post is about my return to the gym. I went back to the gym after a hiatus because: a) I like the calm a good workout brings me. b) the best sleep comes after a good workout and shower. c) I want to lose a little weight, and d) it’s a great place to meet people. Since my job was offering a corporate discount to a gym that offered group classes and many coworkers had signed up, I felt it was a great opportunity to develop a good workout group/buddies.
Once I began going to the gym, I found myself unconsciously looking around for other Black people, particularly Black women. Knowing how we are predisposed to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney problems, obesity, & etc., and seeing how almost everyone from Jennifer Hudson to Queen Latifah to Mo’Nique have been recently promoting getting healthy, I expected to see some people of color in the gym sweating for their lives. This was not the case.
Since I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve seen two other Black women. One is a slim, nearly underweight woman in her late twenties to early thirties who sweats buckets on stair steppers, ellipticals, and every ab machine they have. The other woman is a heavy-set woman who works out with a personal trainer at the gym.
I tried to come up with reasons why we aren’t in there exercising. The gym is expensive without the corporate membership and is located in a well to do suburb. We are underrepresented in the area in general. It’s not economically feasible to be a part of the gym. Yet, this was also the case when I paid $10/month at a gym in Orlando. No matter where I go to work out, there aren’t many of us there.
Some of the excuses I’ve heard from Black women about why they aren’t working out include not wanting to sweat out their hair, not wanting to sweat, period, having various medical conditions, not having time, not being able to afford it, not having anyone to exercise with,or my favorite, not being fat or needing to work out.
We need to do better. We have to try to maintain the bodies God gave us, for health purposes if for no other reason. None of the aforementioned excuses is worth your life. They make exercise caps for Black Women with vents to keep your head from sweating out your style. Going for a walk/jog/run doesn’t cost any money. Exercising can alleviate or ameliorate many health conditions. As we get older, our metabolism slows, and exercising helps to keep the metabolism fired up (to continue to burn calories long after exercising).
God calls us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. Our bodies are temples. There is no part of our lives that aren’t supposed to be used to praise, worship, and exemplify Him. By not taking care of my body, I am not living up to what God requires of me. And I’m not looking or feeling my best.
How can we get more people into exercising? Why aren’t they exercising? What would help people exercise? What are some songs for my workout mix on the iPod? What are some of your favorite exercises/group classes? Tell me what you like/don’t like about exercising.