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Stay-Young Secrets From 10 Fit Grannies Who Rock

Never Give Up What You Love

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"We didn't have a lot [when I was young], but we always had fun. We used to go dancing all the time. I've stayed so healthy because I still love dancing. And a good Singapore Sling!" —Anne Nedley, grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of 17, dancing at her 99th birthday party

Hit the Weights

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"I started lifting weights in my early 20s and loved it! In my 30s, a guy in the gym asked me if I was interested in competing. That was when I knew that all I had been doing to that point meant something. It motivated me even more and I have not stopped since. If you want to defy the aging process, yes, eating healthy, moving more, getting sleep all count. But weight training is going to keep your bones healthy, keep you fitter, and allow you to take care of yourself as you age! Take it from this lady turning 55 in November!" —Jody Goldenfield, 55, grandmother of seven

Learn to Separate Mind and Body

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"For me staying fit is about changing my mentality, and the biggest factor has been changing how I see food. Separating emotional from physical hunger and understanding the consequences of different foods on my body has helped me to make better choices when I'm hungry and to not eat when I'm not! I've learned it is perfectly fine to say 'No thank you, I'm not hungry.'"

Susan also has a mantra she repeats to remind herself why health is so important: "I am free from morbid obesity for the rest of my life. I am free of diabetic symptoms. So I WILL have many decades ahead to enjoy these beautiful grandkids!" —Susan Merrill of Simply Total Health, 59, grandmother of 10

Love Your Body for What It Can Do, Not for What It Looks Like

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"I've learned you need to love and appreciate what your body can do. Don't focus on what it can't do or your perceived flaws. Doing so will make you feel bad, and when you feel bad, you shrink inside. When you're full of love and appreciation for your body, you want to stretch and grow and do things that feel good." —Karen Anderson, 50, grandmother of one

Rock Out in Your Workout

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"In the past, I would get on an exercise kick and do it for a while but then quit because I'd get bored. My breakthrough came when I started taking group fitness classes at the YMCA. I started with yoga, then Body Pump, Turbokick, hip-hop, Tabata training, Pilates... I love trying new things! Even better, the friends I have made in the process are fun, interesting, and young! Makes me feel 30 years younger just absorbing their energy!" —Kim DeBerge, 60, grandmother of one

Forget Aging, Go Surfing!

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"I was at a point in my life where my son had just joined the army and 11(!) people close to me had recently passed away. I went into a depression and started to gain weight. Then one day when I was at a get together with a bunch of young surfers, I said I always wanted to surf but thought I was too old. Boy did I get schooled! They all told me to try it. Even though my other (non-surfing) friends were telling me I was crazy and that the ocean held a lot of dangers, from sharks to jelly fish to possibly drowning. But I didn't want to be afraid of death. Surfing helped me appreciate life and because of it, I started eating better and working out. I eventually lost 30 pounds! Now, when people ask me my secret, I tell them 'just add water!' Stay hydrated on the outside with saltwater from surfing and on the inside by drinking plenty of H20. Keep active and don't let anyone tell you you're told old."  —Michelle Gutierrez, also known as The Surfing Grandma, 45, grandmother of two

Start Now. It's Never Too Late

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"Three years ago I weighed 289 pounds. Since then I've lost more than 125 pounds by making healthy changes in my eating and exercise. I'm living proof that it's never too late to start! Set small goals, make one change at a time, and enlist the help of friends, trainers, and health coaches. Don’t hold on to the habits, activities, and ideas that do not align with or hinder you from meeting your goals. Above all of this, be kind to yourself. When you fail (and we all do), give yourself grace and find and do the things that bring you joy." —Mary Kittleson, 57, grandmother of two

Don't Forget About Nutrition

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"Staying active daily—both physically and mentally—is how I have escaped a wheelchair and dementia! My diet is also very important. You should eat four fruits, four veggies, and four whole grains, and drink two glasses of milk every day. Also, I drastically limit fats and sugars." —Jerry Hull, 93, grandmother of two, great-grandmother of two

Find a Buddy

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"I have found that if you have friends that enjoy the same activities that you do, then it makes exercise something that you enjoy and look forward to. (Karen recently ran a marathon with her best friend Anne!) Physical activity, healthy eating, and trying to keep stress out of my life has helped to defy the aging process. My motivation is to be able to do things with my husband, kids, and grandkids." —Karen Vanderburg, 55, grandmother of eight

Take After Your Kids

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For Patty Swanson, staying fit and healthy is a family affair. "Safety and staying motivated are key elements to my activities, as is family. My husband is my biggest supporter and my golf and walking buddy. My daughter and son keep me motivated by trying new classes with them. Running after my grandkids keeps me in shape and young at heart. I also think it's important to exercise my brain by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and reading. Life is short. My recommendation is to enjoy it and keep as active as possible!" —Patty Swanson, 63, grandmother of six


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