Fitness

‘You Are Your Own Architect’: Fitness Guru Denise Austin’s Best Advice

BY Brett Chudá TIMEMay 25, 2022 PRINT

Denise Austin, author and fitness expert with four decades of experience, proudly calls herself a cheerleader for people, of all ages and fitness levels, to have fun working out and getting fit. She’s known across the country for her deeply genuine, upbeat attitude toward exercise and fitness, and her healthy outlook on life. She now publishes the only magazine geared toward women of a certain age: Fit Over 50.

Epoch Health: What’s something you do every day for your own health and well-being?

Denise Austin: I start every day with some form of exercise. Some days it’s walking, yoga; some days I do my own routines that I filmed for my website, I follow along my workout; I do light weights. I change it up all the time, but every single day I do some movement. I think it’s really important to start my day that way—mentally, physically, and emotionally. It just kind of helps with everything. Some days, it’s only for 20 minutes—but that’s better than nothing.

Epoch Health: How has your approach to fitness evolved over the years? What do you do differently now?

Denise Austin: My biggest change, since I hit the 50s, is now I’m more dedicated to the reasons of health: a little strength training for the muscles, some cardio for the heart, I do stretching so I stay flexible. And, as you age you lose muscle tone, so I do think I spend a little more time stretching than I did as my younger self, for sure, because I didn’t stretch as much as I do now—and I think it’s so important for circulation, important for just helping your body stay young and pliable—and so when you reach for something your back doesn’t go out. There’s just more health reasons as you get a little older; I think of those things more than, ‘Oh my, I gotta get into a leotard today!’”

Epoch Health: What are some health or beauty lessons that you learned from your mother?

Denise Austin: “Keep it simple.” My mom was very simple. Instead of using really high-end exfoliation, she would always say, “a washcloth does it.” I still think that in my mind—a washcloth—you know? So that becomes my exfoliation. And then, she always moisturized—I just remember her always talking about keeping everything moisturized. And one of the things she did, which I do, is right after I get out of the shower I put on a lot of lotion—just as soon as you get out of the shower, since you’re still kind of ready to take in the moisture as well as it just seeps in, mentally, I think—but probably it really does help with my full body. I now use coconut oil, too; so I think that helps.

Epoch Health: Do you have a health or beauty tip that you think people of any age can benefit from?

Denise Austin: Yes. My biggest one is, of course, drinking lots of water. Because water keeps you hydrated, it keeps your skin looking fresh, it keeps your hair [healthy]—Water, water, water. But my other one has to do with posture. I think it’s really important to think about good posture … because I don’t think enough people realize how important [it is]. Your organs need to stay in place. Your back needs to straighten to stay healthy. So, wherever you are, you are your own architect: by the way you sit, by the way you stand. So always be aware of good posture. Drop your shoulders down the back, pull the abdominal muscles up and in like you’re zipping up those abs, and think about really opening up through the chest. Good posture plays a key role in keeping that tummy flat, because if you’re slouched you have no space but to pooch it out, but if you sit up nice and tall it has a place to stay pulled in. So you’re re-educating the muscles constantly, while forcing yourself to give yourself a straight back. Always think about good posture, it leads to so [many] good health benefits: breathing is better; your oxygen uptake is deeper; you’ll have a nice, straighter back; and also you’re creating nice shoulders to keep them down and back—and it’s less tension on the neck and the low spine. Standing up tall can make you look 10 years younger … and putting a smile on your face helps, too.

Epoch Times Photo
Denise Austin, American fitness guru for more than 40 years, is now 65 years old and in great shape thanks to daily exercise and other healthy habits.

Epoch Health: What’s something you didn’t think would become important for your health and well-being, but then it turned out to be?

Denise Austin: Now that I just turned 65, I do believe that for 40 years I’ve been in the health and fitness business, and it has been my mission to help women stay fit and healthy through their lives. But now, I feel like it is very important that the results do show. So, to my younger self, to people who [are] young too: just stay fit throughout your life, because it makes you feel good—you wake up feeling energetic. Forty years later, my mission is still to keep people motivated to exercise, and it’s all, in a way, showed me that all those years—it really did pay off. But it’s hard to say that to women who are just starting to because I want them to start. You’re never too old to start exercising or taking care of yourself physically, and mentally too.

Epoch Health: What’s something that you hope will be true for you in 10 or 15 years, when it comes to your personal health or appearance?

Denise Austin: In 10 to 15 years, I still hope I’m doing this: helping people stay fit, keeping them motivated, being their cheerleader to get up in the morning and go for a walk. So, just keep it going, really, and to keep the good attitude. I think attitude is so important—staying positive, being optimistic in so many situations—that has kept me feeling really young … to have a good attitude. And I do think that, hopefully, in 10 to 15 years, it stays that way.

Epoch Health: Do you think that a positive attitude has an outcome on one’s health, and even on one’s appearance?

Denise Austin: Oh, absolutely, 100 percent it does. You just feel so much better, and when you feel better and you think more positively, the negative thoughts don’t creep up as much and put stress on you, or anxiety on you. And I just believe that exercise kind of helps get rid of some of the anxiousness that people get: the anxieties, the grouchiness. It’s kind of like an easy way to help mentally and physically. So I also think, when you wake up happy you want to move, and you want to do things—and that comes from an optimistic outlook, too.

Brett Chudá
Brett Chudá writes stories about fascinating people and ideas that have made a difference in the world. Her degree in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA has served her well as she globetrots from Alaska to Africa to Europe, marveling at each culture’s unique traditions of beauty, wellness, and belief in the divine.
You May Also Like