Well all women really, but I do notice a lack of women of colour out pounding the streets and at events, so this is a blog to encourage more of us to lace up our trainers and give running a go.
REASONS WHY BLACK WOMEN SHOULD RUN
Running is a great way to get fit and lose weight, just look at the body on Olympic champion Shelly Anne Fraser, see what hard food can do and I bet she never misses the bus, in fact I think she's probably faster than the bus, and if anyone has ever ridden a bus in the Caribbean you know they can shift!
It's a great way to maintain weight, some of us know we ain't ready to lose weight, cause we're not quite ready to deal with our food issues, but we don't want to put any more weight on. Well you could take up running, eat the same way and your weight will become stable and halt the weight gain until your ready to deal with what ever needs to be dealt with, to get you on the right path to losing weight.
Caribbean, African food and American soul food can be unhealthy depending on how we cook it. Food plays a big part in our family lives, fried chicken, macaroni cheese, coleslaw, plantain, dumplings fried and boiled, etc, etc, need I carry on! And you know some relatives be getting very upset if we refuse to eat their food! Running can be the perfect way of controlling this, it will give you a few extra calories to play with.
Just be mindful though running can increase your appetite so if you are not careful you can easily over-eat even with the extra exercise.
Even though some of us might find it hard to admit, food can be a way in which many of us help to numb our emotions. Personally I don't need any excuse to eat. I eat if I'm happy, eat if I'm sad, eat if I have a man, eat if I don't, eat if I'm busy eat if I'm bored.
That is why running has turned into my saving grace, as long as I am exercising I can control my weight, the minutes I stop exercising and continue eating I'm in trouble so praise the Lord for the running.
When I was marathon training back in 2009 and 2010, I would cook up dumplings, yam, green banana and dashing and that food kept me going for miles and miles. If it's good enough for the Jamaican's it's good enough for me!
My first year of marathon training I went to Grenada and Trinidad smack bang in the middle and all that good fresh food, was the only reason I was able to keep running out there. Warning only to be eaten on a regular basis if you are very active, other-wise you may start looking like the very dumplings you love so much!
We have a high propensity to Tye 2 diabetes, fibroids, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke; running can help counteract this.
Our stress levels can be extremely high due to the unique pressures we as sisters face in the world, and running can be a great de-stresser, a way to find time for yourself, away from the man, kids, work, what ever it is that adds to your emotional load.
When I run sometimes I bust two tear, yes I bawl... it's a great way for me to let out my daily frustrations, I chat, reason, recite poetry, pray, talk to whoever is getting on my nerves and tell them about their front their back and their underneath!
Running is wonderful for the sex life, increased confidence in body makes for a sexually confident woman. Come on girls don't you want to be able to fling your man (or woman) down without breaking into a massive sweat and having to reach for your ventalin within 5 minutes cause you can feel an asthma attack coming, when running can do that for you. You'll be able to mash up your man, he'll be begging for mercy. "Lord me God gal, give me a break nah." You'll be running around naked without a care in the world, not ashamed of your body but proud of it.
There are some of us in our thirties and beyond who have not had any children yet. Now I don't know about you but I ain't getting any younger and sadly you can't fight nature (I really should've frozen some eggs ten years ago). Older bodies are not going to bounce back like they would've if we had had children young, so running has to be part of the plan to help the body stay in shape, and to keep up with them once they arrive.
Those of you who are young and not thinking about children yet, cool but you should still take care of your bodies so when the time comes, bam, you can just push out them kid's one time, bam, bam, no problem. Jokes aside we all know the fitter a woman goes into pregnancy the better it is for her and her child, especially those of us carrying extra weight so if your looking to get pregnant and you know you need to lose some pounds you must know what I'm going to say by now....you got it, get running.
Big breasts, yes I am going to go there, and yes I am a small tittie girl so what right do I have to comment? Well your right I don't know what it's like to walk around with two big mounds strapped to my chest, or have to hold them down as I run for a bus or tube, no I don't know what it's like to have to fling them over my shoulders to wash underneath, no I don't know what it's like to run around with two footballls strapped to my chest, or have to wear scaffolding for a bra, but I do know that sports bras have come a long way, so strap those bouncing breadfruits down and get running and stop complaining about a blessing that some of us would love to have! Plus if you really think you got too much, running can help you loose some.
We need to be realistic about our shapes and sizes. Many of us are not meant to be stick thin, we do not have a European figure. Some of us are heavy on the top and the bottom, or like myself just on the bottom. Running can help to make the most of what you got, strong thighs, big glutes, great to power you around the streets. Take the Williams sisters...great example of two different body shapes, Serena has the thick thighs and shapely batty that many of us can identity with and Venus although slim still has a good bit of thigh and a good healthy shape on her.
These girls know how to work what God gave them. You don't see Serena trying to slim down into a size 6 dress... I swear that girl has be a size 14/16 at least, and she look fabulous, strong athletic, thick and healthy. Remember healthy does not come in one size fits all, healthy looks different on different people.
Candace Parker WNBA star who plays for the LA SPARKS, she's not a small girl she's strong, powerful, six foot 4 and a mum. It's not all about being a size zero, but she is unapologetic about about her size and thats the way it should be. Fitness and health should always be our first concern as women, not how skinny we are.
We live in a world which does not uphold our kind of beauty so we need to do that for ourselves. Running can give you a healthy body image and make you realize it's not just about how you look, but how you feel... are you healthy, do you feel good, can you chase after your kids, catch that bus, run after the mugger that stole your purse and beat him down, carry the buggy and the shopping up to the 10th floor, catch the traffic warden just about to ticket your car, grab that last bag of weave like a ninja that some girl was about to get her hands on, win the parents race on sports day and leave everyone else in the dust?
Running for me has been a great way to jump off the band wagon of faddy diets that never work and find a permanent solution to health and fitness. Mix up running with weight training, HIIT, strength training, Pilates and Yoga and you will have a great training programme.
What you waiting for? There’s a whole new healthy world waiting for you.
Now I know how particular we can be about our hair so here are some tips, those of you who are short and natural, you're in one of the best positions when it comes to exercise, cause you can just wash and go. Extensions, and weave, yep yep that can work nicely as well when it comes to exercising. Wig's well no worries at all, when you get back from your run, just bust a new one. Locks, yes they can sweat out a little bit but I tend to wear a bandana to soak up some of the sweat and wash and condition my hair more than I would if I was not running.
Relaxed hair, well I'm not an expert having never relaxed my hair before, but I see plenty of sisters with relaxer exercising so it must be possible. If anyone wants to add any tips or comments on how to maintain hair whilst exercising feel free, cause you know if their hair is okay, then everything is okay.
I have had to start taking better care of my hair as working-out can take it’s toil, so I condition it regularly with 1 egg, 1 banana, tablespoon of coconut oil, dash of moringa oil (if you have it) 1 avocado, dash of honey, blend and place on head for a least an hour, wash as normal.
If there are any Kenyan girls reading my blog, you lot got the long distances sown up. I was hoping that maybe somewhere far back I had some Kenyan blood but alas it was not to be, and Jamaicans you lot got the speed, so there is really no excuse, if it's in a peoples genes, it's in the genes, whether you're African, African American, African Caribbean or African European, we all come from the same gene pool. Black girls do run and can run, so it's time I start seeing some of you out and about at races.
Happy running my sisters.