Filed Under:  Health & Wellness, News

April is National African-American Women’s Fitness Month

24th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

April symbolizes renewal as winter gives way to sunny skies and a new season of outdoor activity; and according to Shelia Madison, it’s the ideal time for African American women to jumpstart a fitness schedule.

This month marks the 7th annual National African-American Women’s Fitness Month, founded by Madison, with the intent to en­courage health awareness through physical activity for African-American females.

Madison, who is the founder of Shelia Madison & Associates, (Washington D.C.) says, “Focus­ing on fitness during the month of April allows me an opportunity to help women become aware of the negative effects of an inactive lifestyle.”

She says when it comes to navigating the roadblocks to becoming active, it’s all about management.

“Carry your workout gear to work; she suggests. “Take your tennis shoes with you, so that in between other responsibilities, you can walk in the park; or while at work, use the stairs. And if your kids are old enough, take them with you. That benefits everyone; they’ll want to model that type of healthy behavior.”

Poppy Nicholas-Reddick did just that; hitting the area walking trails with her daughters regularly.

“I walk 4 to 5 days out of the week and my girls walk 3 to 4 days,” she told The Louisiana Weekly. “My husband works out (walking & running,) every day after work.

Reddick, 42, states both of her natural parents died of heart disease in their early 50s. When her younger daughter told her she dreamed of her dying because of her weight, she set out to get in shape by any means necessary.

Madison also stresses the importance of choosing an activity they enjoy. She states the more women enjoy their selected mode of fitness; the more likely they are able to make it a part of their daily fitness regimen; which for some, may include dancing.

Locally, there’s Step Out and Step Up (SOSU) Line Dancin’ with Lady D.

Lady D needed to lose weight, but knew the traditional fitness routine was not for her, mainly because of two cars accidents she’d been involved in.

(SOSU) Line dancin’ is a low-impact dance class geared toward individuals with little or no line dancing experience. Classes focus on learning basic steps of any line dance that’s performed to all genres of music: from pop and hip-hop to soul, R&B and country. According to Lady D, line dancin’ is for all fitness levels as well as all ages.

What started out as one class, back in 2011, has now grown to eight line dancing classes; including instruction for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced classes.

Like the instructor, many participants have noticed results as well.

“Numerous ladies have dropped anywhere from one to two dress sizes as a result of line dancing.” Lady D told The Louisiana Weekly. “Their blood pressure is normal, cholesterol is down, and they feel good about themselves. They’re more confident.”

Sheila Madison shares 10 Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle on her website: www.sheilamadison.com, and to find out more about Step Out & Step Up class locations, and times, visit www.facebook.com/LineDancinwithLadyD or e-mail sosuwith­LadyD@gmail.com.

This article originally published in the April 15, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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