Fit as Ever at 73

This epic health regime has let me keep up with 16 grandchildren
BY Janet Pfeiffer TIMEApril 18, 2022 PRINT

At 73 years old, I have absolutely no health or weight issues. I am a living testimony that aging isn’t synonymous with aches and pains, reduced physical activity, or lower quality of life.

My story of fitness began 40 years ago with inspiration from the 1979 Michael Douglas film “Running.”

Even though I wasn’t overweight, at 33, I felt like I wasn’t in the best physical condition. I’d always been athletic, but as each of my four children was born, there was less time for me to take care of myself. On Jan. 20, 1982, after watching Douglas’s character strive toward Olympic gold, I was inspired to begin my own journey toward better muscle tone and endurance.

On day one, I ran one mile. It took some effort, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and returned to the pavement the next morning. Every day thereafter, I strove to run farther.

Eventually I began competing in five- and 10-kilometer races and worked my way up to a half-marathon. When an undiagnosed medical condition nearly sidelined me, my doctor told me I’d have to give up running, so I switched to power walking.

Power walking quickly became my passion. Eventually I found myself rising each morning at 3:30 a.m. and walking 12 to 15 miles. I was asked to join a team of competitive race walkers and in 1994 and 1995, I completed and won medals in two marathons, becoming one of the top female race walkers in my division in the country.

On Jan. 20, 2022, I celebrated my 40th anniversary of power walking every single day—yes, every single day. I have not missed even one day in 40 years. I’ve walked with broken bones, after surgery, in snowstorms, and in temperatures below zero and above 100 degrees. I am proud to say I’ve collectively logged over 160,000 miles!  That’s the equivalent of traversing the circumference of the Earth six times. (Take that Forrest Gump!) I know of no other person in the world who can make this claim.

I turned 73 in February and have maintained my ideal body weight my entire adult life. I have zero health issues and am energetic and fit enough to keep up with my 16 grandchildren. I have also expanded my fitness routine to include push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, curls, squats, lunges, rowing, yoga, an inversion table, and more.

Epoch Times Photo
Janet Pfeiffer in January 2022. (Photo courtesy of Janet Pfeiffer)

Although I walk fewer daily miles now, I’ll continue my routine for the remainder of my life. I can’t stop myself from getting older, but I can certainly prevent myself from ever getting old, and I have every intention of doing precisely that.

I hope my story inspires people everywhere to get fit and stay fit—regardless of their age. That effort needn’t be as extreme as mine, but here are a few tips to help you live a long, powerful life:

  1. Find an activity(s) that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll make excuses to quit.
  2. Change things up if you’d like. It’s OK to add or modify your routine; be creative with your workout.
  3. Make certain you’re getting a total body workout. Biking is great, but you have an upper body that also needs attention.
  4. Set up and adhere to a workout schedule. Choose the days and times that work, and be consistent.
  5. Connect with others who share your passion. Support, but don’t compare yourself to each other.
  6. Remember, fitness isn’t a fad, it is a lifetime commitment. Just as brushing your teeth or eating healthy are daily activities, so is fitness. Fads don’t work; lifestyle changes do.

Here’s to staying young as you age!

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