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Getting a Jump on May
National Fitness and Sports Month

I remember the first aerobics class I taught, nearly seven years ago. A bouncy little "skinny" came bounding into the Northside YMCA, where I used to teach. She sang, directly to me, "where's the teacher." I flatted back, "Here I am." She looked as if she saw a ghost, a big sturdy curvy and fit ghost! There was almost a bit of disgust in her face. But I peeped that quickly and assured her, that I was up for the task and fit to lead her through this 30 minute workout. I did. In fact, she bounced out after about 20 minutes, red and sweaty, claiming she needed water. She never returned.

During my journey, I have sampled all kinds of fitness offerings in the city. I have done salsa, with the Milwaukee Recreation Department, Bellydance and Hip Hop with DanceWorks and Zumba with Carla Knap! The dictionary defines fitness as: the quality or state of being fit. Fit is described as being healthy or the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially: freedom from physical disease or pain (Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fitness on April 1, 2012).

This particular definition and most others, mention nothing of size or weight in determining fitness. Generally, you are fit if you can meet the regular, daily demands of your life. Can you walk a flight of two or stairs, without visiting an oxygen bar? Can you park your car a distance and walk into your appointment or must you erroneously park in the handicapped spot, because its close and open? There are many more examples, of what fitness, that I won't mention here. I am a testament, as are many others, that being fit does not mean being thin. So y'all lightweights can stop sneaking peaks at me. I am fit and I won't collapse.

Suffice it to say. there are lots of ways to get fit and be fit in this city. Raging bootcamps, spinning circles, Linked In groups and clubs. I have found that subtle ways of exercixe and fitness do keep me more focused on the job of helping, supporting and encouraging others and Yes, it really does make me feel even better about the skin I am in.

I've grown accustomed to glares and glowering eyes on me and my fleshiness during these events, yet, it doesn't matter. In Yoga, we are told to focus on ourselves, our practice, our breathing. I think this could be true for any form of fitness and sports activities, even electronic bull riding. Yes, I'm still on that one, because I promised my faithful readers, that I would send the video of me, riding atop a big black bull. I sweat then too, but nothing like Birkram. Finally, that footage, lost for months footage was uncovered.

Enjoy and be inspired. If I can, you can, anyone can.

Noticeable Trends

Many of the cities on the 2007 "Most Obese" list have high poverty rates and high frequencies of fast-food consumption.

In the city of Memphis, which does not include the outlying areas surveyed by the CDC, 24 percent of residents live below the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national average is 13 percent. The same trend was noticeable in the cities of Milwaukee (No. 17), Detroit (No. 5) and San Antonio (No. 3) where 26 percent, 33 percent and 18 percent of residents, respectively, live beneath the poverty line.


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