Let me start by saying that my health was a disaster when I was young! I could be an overweight, epileptic, middle-aged woman with terrible blood circulation, suffering from constipation and hemorrhoids! Let me share my own personal journey.
At age 7, I experienced my first seizure. It was diagnosed as a mild form of epilepsy, thank God! I suffered attacks, mainly at night, every 6 to 8 months. By age 13, I began to have serious circulation problems. My feet would get very cold at night. At times, even though I wore two pairs of socks, I had to get out of bed and walk fast for several minutes, because I couldn’t sleep. Poor circulation affected me greatly. For example, after a hot shower, it felt like hundreds of ants were running over my legs. The itchiness was unbearable!
I played some volleyball in school, but that was pretty much it as far as exercise. I did not work out regularly. Those years were tough, especially middle school. I was too young to date or even drive and was bored. Thus, I ate and ate while watching TV for hours. I didn’t have a big belly per se, but I was certainly overweight. My family and friends told me that I looked okay because I was tall and “big-boned”. I wasn’t big-boned. I was 35 lbs. overweight!
Then, by age 16, I started to notice little bluish bumps protruding on my lower legs around the sides and back of my calves. They looked like petite little balls. They were ugly and painful to the touch. I had one or two on each leg all the time. Doctors told me that the bumps were fat deposits due to poor blood circulation. I also started to suffer from constipation and hemorrhoids, which was quite a young age to experience that.
I did lose some weight by my late teen’s, but my health problems persisted. By age 20, I was a size 10, not bad for 5’7”. But, I didn’t feel good about my body. I still felt a little overweight. I wanted to be slimmer. When I was 21, I moved from Mexico City, where I was born and raised, to San Diego, CA to continue my college studies. Living in a healthy city with no children, no full-time job, and just my college duties, I had no excuses to not start exercising.
My first decision was to take up jogging because the beach was nearby. However, what caused me to fall in love with exercising was a trendy new way of working out called ‘Aerobics’, where loud music played and we all jumped, kicked, screamed, and had FUN for about 30 – 35 minutes. Then, we did toning exercises and some stretching. I vividly remember how I felt then. As soon as the music started, I knew I had found my way to enjoy exercising!
What was surprising is that after only six months of working out consistently, I started to notice a few health rewards. I no longer felt ants crawling up my legs after hot showers. Even better, the bluish mini balls on my lower legs started to appear less and less. My feet also became steadily warmer. After a couple of years of working out consistently, my body was functioning more efficiently than ever. I became regular, no constipation, and my hemorrhoids disappeared. I hardly ever got sick. I haven’t had an epileptic attack or any other health issue for decades. My quality of life is fantastic!
So, what happened to me? What did I do to be more fit and healthy now in my 50s than when I was a teenager? How have I kept the weight off for over 30 years? The answer is Cardiovascular Exercise! I don’t even want to think about the type of health problems I would have endured if I had not discovered exercise!
I enjoyed my aerobic classes so much, I decided to get certified as an instructor! While taking a class in Exercise Physiology to get certified, I became so fascinated with the subject that I decided to study it in college. I earned a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and was part of the fitness industry for over 25 years, teaching exercise classes and giving lectures.
I am now in my late 50s, at a good weight, in excellent health, and I enjoy a fantastic quality of life!