Every morning, Ernestine Shepherd wakes up at 3 a.m. and spends her days running, lifting weights and working out. She eats ten scrambled egg whites along with a handful of walnuts and drinks sixteen ounces of water. She also works as a certified personal trainer at her gym. So what makes Ernestine so special? She’s 79 years old!

With her flat stomach, toned arms and excellent health, you’d never guess that this female bodybuilder is in her late 70s. Bodybuilding champion Ernestine Shepherd shows us that “being out of shape” as we age truly is merely an option — NOT a mandate! She is a role model not just for senior women everywhere, but for every one of us as we embrace life as Arizona retirees.

One of the most incredible parts of Shepherd’s journey to becoming a champion body builder is that she didn’t even start working out until she was 56! Once declared the World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010, Shepherd encourages exercise in any shape or form for people of all ages, especially older adults. “Not everybody wants to be a bodybuilder. Not everybody wants to be a runner,” she explains. “But find what you like to do. I say to my senior ladies — and the men — ‘don’t forget: Age is nothing but a number and you can get fit.’”

Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of seniors who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging. Additional exercise:

  • Helps older adults maintain or lose weight.
  • Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. 
  • Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in older adults.

Feeling better than she did at 40, Shepherd shows us that age is just a number and that an active and healthy lifestyle is obtainable at any age. If you’d like more information about staying physical fit in retirement or if you’re looking for an active adult community in Arizona with a fitness center to meet your needs, please contact Sharon Mason today!