World’s oldest female body builder changes views on healthy aging

Ernestine at AARP walk of ages event

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-  Some say, “The best is yet to be,” when it comes to aging – a mantra that is possible for Michiganders who focus on healthy lifestyle choices.

And 79-year-old Ernestine Shepherd is a perfect example. Shepherd is recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Oldest Female Body Builder, and was at Michigan State University on Friday to talk about nutrition, exercise, and brain health.  After a Q and A session, Shepherd kicked off AARP’s first Walk of Ages event, leading people on a 3 mile walk.

Ernestine at the AARP Walk of Ages Event
Ernestine at the AARP Walk of Ages Event

Jennifer Munoz, Associate State Director for AARP Michigan, says “Shepherd is an inspiration to people no matter what their age.  She provides hope for people that just because you might be older in terms of years but there is still a lot that you can do with health and fitness to make sure you live your best life.”

Preventative steps can help people of all ages prepare for the physical and mental challenges associated with aging. “It’s important to get into the right habits in terms of being active and eating the right foods and just staying sharp,” Munoz stresses.  “Ernestine started her journey to fitness after the age of 55 so it’s never too late to start getting healthy.”

Here are some fun facts about this dynamic senior:

ernestine shepherd world's oldest female body builder aarp

*Ms. Shepherd has 9-10% percent body fat.

*She says she feels better now than she did at 40.

* She wakes each morning at 3:00 am – and begins a rigorous workout routine.

*She does not use performance-enhancing drugs or even supplements beyond vitamin D.

*Since the age of 56, ES has won two bodybuilding titles, as well as run nine marathons!


Her story of triumph is inspirational and motivating.  You can find more about Ernestine Shepherd.

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