African American Women’s Fitness

By Joy Evans, UWO Health Advocate

Did you know April was National African American Women’s Fitness Month? 

African Americans are more likely to die at early ages from all causes, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. Obesity and inactivity rates are higher than in whites, and fewer African Americans had access to healthcare.

In response, Sheila Madison, of Sheila Madison and Associates, created this a national monthly observance in hope of improving the health of African American women and helping them find creative ways to make health apart of everyday life. Every year, Madison hosts a fitness fun walk to encourage African-American women, and many others, to work towards a healthy lifestyle. An avid runner, Madison states:

“When running a marathon, it often seems as if there is no end in sight. However, when you finally reach the end of the course, you discover that it’s not the destination that’s important, but the journey. After realizing your goal, you celebrate your accomplishment and determination. One’s career, personal and professional development can be a lengthy journey, but the payoff is priceless!” 

Sheila Madison’s 10 Tips on Living a Healthier Lifestyle:

  1. Assess where you are. What is your current level of physical activity?
  2. Make a appointment with your healthcare provider.
  3. Identify your fitness goals and make healthy lifestyle choices.
  4. Visualize yourself in optimal health and reaching your fitness goals.
  5. Start moving! Make a fitness schedule a part of your daily routine.
  6. Include nutritious foods in your diet and drink plenty of water.
  7. Find a buddy! Make fitness a family or friend affair.
  8. Meditate, pray and maintain a positive attitude.
  9. Select a hairstyle that will allow you to enjoy the benefits of exercise.
  10. Love yourself and celebrate your fitness accomplishments.