There is something special about the energy Hikamah brings to a room. With arms raised and an honest smile, Hikamah has found her stride to the rhythm of soul line dancing and has no plans to look back.
Being physically active was not always a part of Hikamah’s life. Weighing nearly 500 pounds at her heaviest, the North Philly mother of seven had little interest in exercise. “My husband would always try to get me to go to the gym and eat right, but I didn’t want to do it. I was always like, ‘Oh, I don’t feel like it.’ or ‘I’m too tired.’”
But everything changed when a chance encounter reunited Hikamah’s husband with an old friend. That friend turned out to be superstar soul line dance instructor Gloria Kingcade, who invited the whole family to check out one of her classes. For Hikamah, that invitation marked the start of a healthier life.
“My family went to a couple of line dancing events and the way those people moved was phenomenal! I had never seen anything like it. I said to myself, ‘One day I’m going to be there.’”
When Hikamah first started line dancing her main focus was just getting down the complicated steps. “I would sit down and follow along with my feet. And once I got up I wasn’t even thinking about losing weight.” But since starting her fitness journey in 2002, Hikamah has lost over 250 pounds.
One step at a time Hikamah has built up the strength to incorporate fitness into her everyday life. A little over a year ago she started working out at the Stephen Klein Wellness Center YMCA. With the help of a trainer, Hikamah has mastered machines she had never dreamed of trying and found a fitness routine that doesn’t aggravate her health conditions.
“I have arthritis, I’ve had a hip replaced, and I’ve got another surgery coming up. But I’ve never let that define me.”
Although she is now a gym regular, Hikamah’s heart will always be on the dancefloor. Whether she is dancing a Salsa or shaking it to ‘Breakwater’, her favorite part is getting swept up by the performance. “It’s like I’m the only one out there. I know I have people around me, but it feels like I’m the only one in the middle of that floor.”
If there is one thing that rivals Hikamah’s energy, it’s her genuine care for others. Making lifestyle changes is not always easy, but Hikamah encourages anyone who is looking to improve their health to be patient, because how you feel at the end of the day makes it all worthwhile.
“This journey that I’m on has truly touched my spirit. I just feel wonderful, I’m on Cloud 9. I want everyone to remember to start small, keep going and always think positively. Love yourself. You are somebody and you can do it!”