I was born in Venezuela, a country where fitness and exercise were not a big part of the culture. Our culture revolved around food & dancing. Families and friends would get together to share big meals and move to the music. I loved dancing. So when I came to the States as a young college student, I had to adapt to a whole new culture and find my place in it. A friend introduced me to running and I really enjoyed running outdoors with my college running club. I also attended group aerobics and joined students groups that welcomed dancing. I started to appreciate how good it felt to stay active & fit.
Unfortunately, I developed a back injury and had to stay away from exercise. I was extremely frustrated. I was a young person (late 20s) who enjoyed physical activity but couldn’t really do anything that was high impact. I couldn’t even dance at family parties when I went back home. Luckily, I achieved a successful recovery with physical therapy and discovered Pilates & Yoga which helped me keep my back healthy and my core strong. Then, a few years later, in my mid 30s, I was diagnosed with AS – an inflammatory condition similar to arthritis which affects your spine and joints. I couldn’t believe what was happening! How could this happen? I was in a lot of pain & was starting to feel very discouraged. My doctor explained that if I stayed active my degenerative condition would not progress as quickly and with the right medication and diet, it could even go into remission. I was praying she was right.
These health challenges could have held me back. Instead, I learned to adapt. I also learned to listen to my body and to keep moving. Not moving actually made things worse. I would feel very tight & achy. By moving, I was able to get out of pain. Four years later, I’ve been able to keep the pain and inflammation down by staying active and changing my diet. I avoid gluten, dairy and sugar which cause inflammation (I even avoid alcohol). Orinoco Fitness opened its doors right around the time I was diagnosed. I was passionate about owning my own business and loved that it was centered around fitness & wellness. I am thankful that I get to help others overcome challenges they face and continue to grow in my own wellness journey which keeps evolving and never ends.
I would love to hear your story. Think back to a health challenge you faced. What was it? How did you adapt? How are you feeling now? I’d love to know (add your comment in the comment portion, top right area)