Picture Source: ABCNews.com
Being active is an important part of aging and aging in place. The benefits of exercising include: improved health, strength, and a reduction in the likelihood of falls. Case in point, Ernestine Shepherd, a 73 year old grandmother, who would give anyone half her age a run for their money. Ernestine has been exercising for years and is a certified personal trainer. She is also in the Guinness Book of World Records’ for being the oldest female bodybuilder. She bench presses 150 pounds and runs about 80 miles a week. All this while being 73 years young!
Ernestine wasn’t always active. She says that 20 years ago, she never exercised. At 56 Ernestine decided to change her body when she was trying on bathing suites in a dressing room with her sister, Mildred. After that experience, she and Mildred decided to train to become the oldest living fitness competitors in the world. They took aerobic classes and later a trainer suggested weight lifting. Sadly, a little over a year into their training, Mildred died in 1992 of a brain aneurysm. After Mildred’s death, Ernestine stopped exercising, staying at home and suffering from panic attacks and high blood pressure. A friend encouraged her to leave her home and she started working out again, this time to keep her promise to her sister.
To date, Ernestine has completed 8 marathons and also wants to compete in the New York and Boston races. So, don’t be surprised if she beats you to the finish line. What a great role model and example of how anyone can change their life at any age. Go Ernestine, go!