Denise Austin’s passion for fitness hasn’t changed one iota since she made her iconic workout videos in the ’80s. But every morning, the wife and mother of two starts her day with a different kind of exercise: one of gratitude.
“From my family to my career, I try to be thankful and see each day as a gift,” she tells Woman’s World. “It keeps me feeling positive and balanced, especially during the uncertainty of this pandemic.”
Still, Denise admits it can be tough to stay smiling at times. Losing her mom 10 years ago still paints each Mother’s Day with a twinge of melancholy. To keep the heartbreak at bay, Denise focuses on happy memories. “Every Mother’s Day, my siblings and I would make the whole day about Mom,” she recalls. This year, continuing the tradition of sharing joyful memories is helping Denise cope with other emotional stresses.
“My girls live on their own, so I am technically a new empty nester, which can be tough, but lately we’ve all been hunkered down together at my home, passing time talking, cooking and playing together,” the 63-year-old says. “In the midst of this outbreak, it’s a blessing to be together.”
Another bright spot? Denise has recently been enjoying more quality time with her oldest daughter, Katie, who’s joined her mom’s fitness company. Here are Denise’s tips for staying healthy, happy and positive—come what may:
Start the Day With a Little Zest
“I absolutely love coffee, but every morning, I squeeze some fresh lemon juice into warm water and sip that before my first cup,” Denise shares. “I picked up that habit from my grandmother—she used to do it every day! It’s a great way to get a kick of immunity-boosting vitamin C, and it helps me stay energized and focused all day.”
Boost Energy With Interval Walking
“If it isn’t easy, I won’t do it,” Denise says with a laugh. “That’s why I love interval walking! It’s so simple, but it dramatically transforms how you look and feel. I walk for 5 minutes at a normal pace, then walk as fast as possible for 1–2 minutes, then alternate fast and normal walking for 20 minutes. I’ll pump my arms to burn more, or I’ll bring along a loved one, which motivates us both to pick up the pace!”
Schedule in the Important Things
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in the world right now,” Denise admits. “But while we’re sheltering at home, structure is my antidote to going stir-crazy, so every Sunday, we make our workout plan for the week and schedule our walks. Knowing what my week holds helps me focus on what’s important and eases a lot of stress.”
Treat Yourself to Small Acts of Love
“As soon as I get out of the shower, I treat my skin to organic coconut oil,” Denise says. “It’s been my secret weapon to keeping my skin healthy for years. My skin never cracks or feels dry. And just that small moment of treating myself well sets me up for a wonderful day, especially now, when waking up and doing small things to take care of yourself and keep routine is so key – you’re worth it!”
Be Yourself–No Matter What!
“When I was little, I was always the fun, robust one in the family,” Denise reminisces. “My mom used to tell me, ‘Always be yourself and be able to laugh at yourself.’ That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given, and I’m so grateful she taught me to never take myself too seriously. Doing that is sure to decrease anxiety…and when you can learn to enjoy yourself without feeling self-conscious, it just feels so freeing!”
‘Fidget-cize’ Your Way to Fit
“I ‘fidget-cize’ around my house all day, doing small 10-second movements to get the blood flowing,” Denise says. “I’ll do walking lunges or leg lifts in the kitchen when cooking, or tighten my stomach like I’m pulling on a corset while brushing my teeth. A little toning here and there adds up throughout the day and makes me feel so accomplished!”
Denise’s Virtual Walking Challenge
This spring, Denise will host an online walking challenge on DeniseAustin.com. Join from the comfort of home as she shares tips for getting the most from your walk, or check out Denise and Katie’s mother-daughter work-outs. Want more easy at-home exercises? Order a copy of Denise’s new Fit Over 50 special issue magazine to be sent to your door!