A 91-year-old pickleball instructor didn’t start exercising until she was 55. Here’s how she stays in shape while eating ice cream every day.
Leurene Hildenbrand, 91, plays pickleball four times a week and tends to her 24-acre property throughout the day.
The athletic nonagenarian starts each day with oatmeal and ends it with a bowl of ice cream.
Hildenbrand broke her daily routine and revealed her longevity secrets.
Leurene Hildenbrand, 91, plays pickleball four times a week – three times with adults and once when teaching the sport to children aged 11 to 18. Many of her teammates are in awe of her hyper-athleticism and can’t believe it when she reveals she didn’t start exercising until she was in her mid-50s.
“A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘You must have done this your whole life,'” Hildenbrand told Insider. “And I say, ‘No, I only started when I retired. I kind of put my heart into it. I am very competitive and I like to learn.
Hildenbrand was a research scientist at Goodyear for most of her young adult life before the company offered her early retirement at age 55.
The hardworking woman had free time and was looking for ways to spend it. She started out playing table tennis with her husband and some of his friends from work, that’s when she heard about the National Senior Games, a non-profit competition for senior citizens. which includes tennis matches, swimming competitions, 5k races and more for anyone over 50. and older.
Hildenbrand said she grew up at a time when women were discouraged from playing sports and later didn’t find the time to do so. Uninhibited at last, Hildenbrand played as many sports as she could: pickleball, bocce, cycling, rollerblading, running, table tennis, and more.
The nonagenarian described her daily routine and how she adapts in time to play sports while tending to her 24-acre property in Ohio. She advises other seniors, especially those who aren’t already active, to boost their competitive spirit and play sports.
The 91-year-old rarely stops moving
Most of the time, she makes time for sports like pickleball and bicycling, and works to maintain her 57-year-old property in Ohio. She takes care of the house, mows her lawn, clears snow and even cuts trees using the wood saw her son gave her when she was 88 years old.
Exercise might be the secret to Hildenbrand’s long life. Science suggests that regular exercise prevents premature death from chronic disease, keeps the brain from deteriorating, and generally helps you live longer.
During the summer, she takes a break from her usual chores by spending time at her vacation home in Florida, but she still adjusts to some daily exercise. She keeps moving teaching three aerobic exercise classes one week.
“I play a lot of pickleball indoors and outdoors” in Florida too, she said. “So in both places, in Ohio and over there, I’m very, very busy.”
Hildenbrand starts the day with oatmeal and ends it with ice cream
An early riser, Hildenbrand is up at 6:30 a.m., regardless of what time she goes to bed. She credits her endurance to getting up and going to growing up on a farm, where she cared for animals before running away to school.
She starts her day watching the news, while eating oatmeal with flax seeds and drinking a cup of coffee.
She also said she makes sure to drink water throughout the day. Last year, Hildenbrand said she nearly passed out while playing a pickleball tournament in the hot sun. His partner quickly came to his aid with water and a damp towel, but Hildenbrand was back on his feet soon enough. She continued the competition after a few minutes of rest. Since then, water has become a priority in her daily life.
Between teaching pickleball and chopping down trees, Hildenbrand’s daily chores can add up. She usually goes to bed at 11:30 a.m. or 12 p.m., often after indulging in a bowl of mint chocolate chips or moose ice cream. “I always have six to eight different half-gallons in my freezer,” she said. “People laugh about it, but it’s true.”
Playing sports gives the senior a sense of community and makes exercise more bearable
Hildenbrand has been a widow since 2012, but she says her social life is just as active as she is.
“I have a lot of friends all over the country,” she said. “We play games. We play pickleball. I have friends in every sport I play, in everything I do.”
Along with exercise, maintaining friendships is actually a scientific way to live healthier in old age. According to research, seniors who stay mentally sharp tend to maintain strong bonds with family and friends.
Hildenbrand said she wants to inspire other seniors to play sports. She said there was nothing special about her genetics; her younger and older siblings have been “gone for years”, but exercise has allowed her to live a long and fulfilling life, she said, and competition makes her more enjoyable.
“You get the exercise as well as the fun of playing the game, and you want to excel even more,” she said. “And then you don’t even realize your health is getting better.”
Read the original Insider article