Just in case you’re sitting on the couch, binge-watching Netflix, and thinking you’re too old to work out, think again. This centenarian is about to change your mind.
Meet Jean Bailey, the 102-year-old fitness guru from Omaha, Nebraska, who leads workout sessions four days a week at her senior living complex.
She may be over a century old, but she’s not about to let something as trivial as age slow her down.
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For the past three years, every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9:45 am about a dozen of Bailey’s fellow residents at the Elk Ridge Village Senior Living Center gather together in the hallway to participate in her fitness class.
They spend 30 minutes working out their arms, legs, shoulders, backs, and necks. They do everything from arm circles to leg raises to touching their toes.
And while the participants may be seated in chairs to perform the exercises, that doesn’t mean Bailey goes easy on them.
“You move every part of your body. I’m kind of tough on them because I want them to do it right. I want all of us to keep walking,” Bailey tells TODAY.
She started the classes during the pandemic lockdown as a way to keep people moving. Everyone loves them so much, she hasn’t stopped. Nor does she want to.
“You have to keep your body busy and your mind busy… why would you just give up?” she says.
Who Is Jean Bailey?
Born in 1921, Bailey grew up during the Great Depression. She’s lived through World War II, the Golden Age of Television, and the Cold War. She’s seen a man walk on the moon, witnessed the dawn of the technological revolution, and has been around longer than sliced bread.
Bailey’s been a J.C. Penny model, a wife, a stay-at-home mother of 3 kids, a 4-H leader, a hospital volunteer (for 34 years), and the owner of a floral business.
She’s also been a widow, and a bereaved parent, losing her daughter at the age of 55 to cancer. Now, she’s a grandmother of five and a great-grandmother of four.
Bailey has lived a rich, full, and active life. One that she admits hasn’t always included working out.
“Well, (I spent) most of my life at home with the kids — I didn’t need to do exercises,” she says.
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Bailey says she doesn’t know what the secret is to living as long as she has. She credits good genes and keeping busy as part of it.
It also probably doesn’t hurt that she’s spent most of her life “trying to eat the right things and do the right things.”
Obviously, she’s done something right. She lives in the independent living section of her community, does her own cooking and baking for staff, enjoys creating flower arrangements, and walks to her many activities.
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Additionally, she likes reading mystery novels, dealing blackjack, eating dessert, and indulging in the occasional happy hour.
And while she believes in keeping her body healthy, mental health is important too.
“I think mainly I’m an optimist,” Bailey says. “You can get down like anybody else… and nobody keeps (optimism) 24/7, but I guess I just try to think positive.”
It definitely seems to be working.
Bailey is an inspiring example that you’re never too old (or young) to stay active and healthy. And she is living proof that the old adage is true: age really is JUST a number.