If you’re like most of us, your plans for retirement may include settling down, visiting family, traveling, or taking up new hobbies. We’re guessing “enter a competitive sport” wasn’t on your list! But for Julia Hawkins, a Louisiana Great-Grandmother, that’s exactly what she’s done.

stay fit

Julia Hawkins has always maintained a healthy, active lifestyle as a great-grandmother and retired teacher. At age 81, she took up cycling to stay fit. She enjoys daily bike rides around her neighborhood. One day, Julia decided to go for a run instead of a bike ride. She found a new freedom through running: “With running, it’s just me and my body. I can just go out and do the best I can and not depend on anything else to help me.” She says.

Already a gold medalist in the National Senior Games for cycling, at age 100, she decided to train to compete in the 50 and 100-meter dash in the 2017 games. Oh, and she’s not trading in her bike just yet, either: she’s also planning to continue competing in the bicycle category.

Fitness at Any Age

Above all, Julia’s example shows us all that fitness doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Julia bikes around her neighborhood for fun, and stays active around the house doing chores. Her running training is very informal. Opting not to hire a personal trainer, she instead has 50 and 100 meters marked out in front of her house. She practices running her distances whenever she gets a “spurt of energy.”


The most important thing to Julia Hawkins is not to get bogged down putting too many expectations on yourself.  Training for her upcoming Olympic performance, she says, “I am going to try as hard as I can. I’ll give it my best shot.”

A 101-year-old woman knows a thing or two about maintaining a lifestyle. Her focus is on treating yourself well first. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Just make small changes every day to take your best care of yourself. “There is a fine line between pushing yourself and wearing yourself out,” she says. “You don’t want to overdo it. You just want to do the best you can do.”

Julia sets a great example for all of us with her youthful attitudes. “I don’t feel 101,” she explains. “I feel about 60 or 70. You are not going to be perfect at 101, but nothing stops me.”

Don’t expect yourself to be perfect! All you need to do is your best.

How to Stay Fit

Like Julia knows, staying healthy doesn’t have to be a chore! Try these easy workouts from the Hearty Soul at any age to make staying fit a habit:

As always, share this article with the fitness aficionado in your life!

*Article originally appeared at The Hearty Soul.