Running has been a popular form of exercise for a long time, and for African American women, it has become an increasingly important way to prioritize their health and wellbeing. The benefits of running are numerous and well-documented, including improvements to cardiovascular health, weight loss, and stress reduction, as well as additional advantages that go beyond physical health.
According to the CDC, in 2019-2020, the obesity rate among non-Hispanic Black women in the United States was 57.6%, which is the highest among all racial and ethnic groups. In comparison, the obesity rates were 34.2% for non-Hispanic White women, 44.8% for Hispanic women, and 17.4% for non-Hispanic Asian women. Obesity increases the risk of developing numerous chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. These conditions are leading causes of death in the United States, and they disproportionately affect African American women in particular. Physical activity, such as running, can be an effective way to prevent and manage obesity and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
In addition to the physical benefits, running has a positive impact on mental health. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, and running is no exception. African American women face unique stressors and running can be a helpful coping mechanism to deal with these challenges. Running is not only a great way to stay in shape and improve overall health, but it can also be an excellent tool for building confidence and community. Many black women across the United States have started forming running groups and clubs, where they can connect with other like-minded women and receive the support and motivation they need to reach their fitness goals.
For example, Black Girls Run is a national organization founded by two friends, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha, in 2009. The group aims to encourage and inspire black women to take up running to improve their overall health and wellness. Through their social media platforms and organized runs, Black Girls Run creates a sense of camaraderie and empowerment for those who are often underrepresented in mainstream running culture.
Other running groups that empower African American women are Harlem Run and Black Girls RUN! Harlem Run, founded by Alison Désir in 2013, promotes fitness and wellness in Harlem through weekly runs, fitness challenges, and social events. Black Girls RUN!, founded by Jay Ell Alexander in 2010, encourages African American women to improve their physical and mental health through running. It offers group runs, fitness challenges, and mental wellness resources. Both groups have created supportive communities that empower women to improve their health and wellbeing.
Running groups like Black Girls RUN! and Harlem Run empower African American women and promote fitness and wellness. By supporting these organizations, you're contributing to the creation of an empowered and supportive community. Check out our running-themed products like mugs, shirts, and watch bands that make great gifts for anyone passionate about fitness. Let's empower and support our fellow runners!