AUSTIN (KXAN) — The pandemic has inspired a movement of movement. It’s changed how many view the importance of working out.
For Blanca Moncada, staying motivated during the pandemic is easy.
She’s using her love of dance, salsa music, and being outdoors to cope with the COVID-19 stress.
“I call it Zumba walk,” Blanca explained to me shortly after meeting each other for the first time at the Lady Bird Lake trail.
I had just finished my run around the trail when I noticed a woman with a passion to move. She was several steps ahead of me, walking, jogging, and dancing to her own beat. I wanted to talk to her because she had the guts to do what I’ve always wanted to: take dance breaks during my run. Do you know what I mean? That good beat comes on and you want to just stop and dance.
“Even though I’m walking,” she explains while rapidly moving her feet from side to side, and to the front and back, while pointing to her stomach. “I’m working my abs. I’m working this area to work this muscle. Then I will walk, and then I will jog a little bit.”
Blanca started doing this in October 2020. She began by walking two miles in her south Austin neighborhood, then the pattern changed to three miles.
“And then all of a sudden I said, ‘Maybe I can add some music,’” the dancing enthusiast explained. “I listen to the latest from Marc Anthony, Chayanne, Maluma, and Shakira.”
“My stress has gone down, my anxiety, too.” The Austin ISD teacher is now introducing her exercise to her classroom and according to Moncada, the students like it.
Right now Blanca Zumba-walks-jogs eight miles around Lady Bird Lake and is working to do the entire 10-mile loop of the trail.
“I’m not ashamed of doing it, she said proudly, “I feel happy doing it. I enjoy doing it.”
I wanted to know her motivation.
“Life,” she says. “God gave me the opportunity to keep on, so I should take care of it.”
In 2007 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I started having pain in my breast area,” Blanca said.
After months of treatment and surgery, the cancer went away.
“I live for every day, because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Jose Torres is a morning news producer with KXAN. His blog will bring stories of hope and determination from others who have fought through their own health struggles and life challenges. He looks forward to sharing those conversations in future blogs. Do you know someone with a great story that could help inspire others? Share it with me at Jose.Torres@kxan.com