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Posts Tagged ‘fitness bliss’

The Right to be Active

In Fitness Bliss on June 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Kulsoom Abdullah

When I was about 21, I was at a family picnic running around with my younger cousin. As I hobbled back to the picnic table, having over-zealously stumbled over a rock, an older relative chastised me with a disapproving look. “Stop running around” he said, “you are not a young kid anymore you know!” Apparently, my time was up. I was supposed to be sitting at the picnic table with the older women swapping recipes!

Being of Indian heritage, I get the impression that traditionally, in my culture,  women are expected to stop any type of athletic, fun activity after a certain point in life. I know of a woman who had to quit dance classes upon being engaged. Why? Why should someone give up doing what they love– especially if it is something healthy and active? Apparently, it was because of perception– an engaged woman had no business taking dance classes. While I cannot say I am an expert on Indian culture, or what I have observed applies to everyone (I probably witnessed a more conservative ideal), I can say that I do not agree with all of it!

One of the many things I have always appreciated about American culture is the widely accepted idea that it is  never too late to do what you want to do. People are applauded for going to medical school at the age of 40– not ridiculed! Not being a natural scholar myself, activity has been my medical school. I was a natural couch potato when I was a kid, but somewhere in adulthood, I found that I was happier when activity was a regular part of my life. Don’t get me wrong– I still love my couch time dearly, but it is much more satisfying after a run.

Along this vein, I immediately took interest in the story of Kulsoom Abdullah.

Kulsoom Abdullah is a woman who resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an American of Pakistani descent and a practicing Muslim. At 35, Abdullah is able to deadlift 245 lbs and hoist up 105. If I met the sub-120 lb Abdullah on the street, I would have never guessed this! She also happens to be a brainiac, possessing a Ph.D. in computer and electrical engineering.

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The Poseidon Adventure..and Running

In Fitness Bliss on March 30, 2011 at 1:11 am

I accidentally started watching “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) in the early 90’s on TV one day. I was SO confused! Leslie Nielsen– who I knew from ” The Naked Gun”– was a part of the cast and so was the nice man who played Grandpa Joe on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. I honestly thought I was in for a zany caper aboard a boat– no not so much. Instead I got a (well-done) disaster movie about a cruise liner that rolls over– I just wasn’t mentally prepared for this movie– but it was really hard to stop watching!

The one thing I always remember about the film was Belle,  the character played by Shelly Winters. She was this really sweet, plump grandma who joined the group trying to make it to the hull of the upside-down ship. There is a scene where she performs an underwater rescue after revealing that she was a competitive swimmer when she was younger– and everyone is like whaaaaaa? Youuuuuu?

So ever since leaving California, I feel a little like Belle– except change the swimming to running. Don’t get me wrong, I was never a champion runner the way Belle was a champion swimmer, but I had a decent go at it. When I got back home, and had some sedentary time, and got progressively softer around the belly, I felt when I mentioned running to people, they would be like whaaaaaaa? Youuuuuuu? Thus the Poseidon connection for anyone wondering.
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