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Be Inspired to Age Actively: Deborah Szekely at 91

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Deboarah Szekely at 91

Deborah Szekely, Founder of Rancho la Puerta and Golden Door Spas

“Not only must we not move less as we age. In fact, we must move more!” So warns Deborah Szekely, the 91 year old founder of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta fitness resorts.

Kymberly speaking at Rancho la Puerta

Speak and BeSpoken!

As a guest presenter at the Ranch the other week, I had the chance to hear Deborah speak about her life, wellness passions, and big visions for our country’s health. She had me with her opening statement. If ever there was a living testament to the benefits of living an active, healthy, socially conscious life, Deborah is the “It” woman! I want to be as mentally and physically sharp as she when I hit 70, much less 91! I wouldn’t mind being as rich and influential either, come to think of it. (If you haven’t heard of her or Rancho la Puerta, click on the link of her name above. You’ll be amazed at what she’s created).

How do you picture yourself at 91? What are you willing to do today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life to be all you can be as you whuff out more birthday candles each year? Let’’s face it — body parts start to hurt. Joints start talking and won’t shut up. Yakkity yak, want my young joints back. What wisdom, experience, and clever tricks can we call upon to stay active while acknowledging physical realities? (You all can turn to our YouTube videos for answers to this question).

Rancho la Puerta Hike Spot

I Plan to Move Up Not Drop Down!

A story Deborah shared highlighted her point about needing to find ways to move more as life advances us. She had just downsized from her three-story house of 59 years to a much smaller, one-story home. Makes sense that she no longer wanted to roam about in a big space with lots of stairs and upkeep. (As a baby boomer who just moved into a brand new home after spending almost 9 years in a little cabin during a long construction process, I am not thinking of downsizing … yet. But I can well imagine going to a one-story home again in 20-25 years).

You’d think that at 91, Deborah would be ready to ease up a bit in her new digs. Instead, this tiny, little bitty package of energy strapped on a pedometer at her former palace to get a feel for how many daily steps she took getting up, down, ‘round about. Then she did the same at her new place. “Now to figure out how to make up the difference,” she concluded. BAM! Not where I thought she was going with her story. But is that inspirational, or what??!!

Yes, she saw a built-in slowdown coming and actively searched for ways to keep moving forward, not back. One of her solutions was to go from two to six Pilates classes per week. Another was to add more walks into her day — through the neighborhood, to the grocery store, to the nearby park. As she put it, “I have a lot I still want to accomplish yet strongly feel the urgency of time.”

Sign goihng back to the Ranch

It’s a Sign! I Need to Go Back to the Ranch!

What do you still want to accomplish in your life? How much energy will you need for that? How will you make up for any “downsizing” that occurs, literally or metaphorically? As for me, I plan to haul my hiney to the Ranch next year. I want to hear Deborah speak again when she hits 92 and tells us how her plan to organize a Wellness March on Washington is coming along.

For now, please enjoy some of my pics from Rancho la Puerta — one of my key happy, active places for life!

Help others to age actively. Do MORE  when you:

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C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Mountain at the RanchHiking at dawn at Rancho la Puerta


Path to Dining Hall at Rancho la PuertaStars at Rancho la Puerta


About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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9 Responses to Be Inspired to Age Actively: Deborah Szekely at 91

  1. Jody - Fit at 55 November 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    OMG – LOVE!!! You were so lucky to take part in this! Well, you have the creds so that was part of it! :) What an amazing woman! With my bday tomorrow – not just that – but I have felt the aging. YES, I do a lot but it takes me 15-20 minutes longer to do a workout like I did 5-10 years ago. I don’t let that stop me though. I understand it & I will be fighting it all the way. I want to grow older with strength & muscles! I do think about how I would change things out with age – I love Deborah’s take on that!

    Thank you for sharing!!!!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Eating Disorders & A Cry for HelpMy Profile

  2. Sheryl November 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I met Debra when I went to Golden Door to cover it for She is so inspiring…and so is what she built. I’d love to go to the original in Mexico. Golden Door is such a special place…as I’m sure is Rancho la Puerta. Lucky you!

    • KymberlyFunFit November 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      Sounds like you enjoyed your week at the Golden Door. I briefly worked there 20 years ago, and MUCH prefer the Ranch, where I’ve guest instructed for more than 30 years. Get to Rancho la Puerta if you can! You will LOVE it!
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Meditation, Menopause, and MemoryMy Profile

  3. Nicki Anderson November 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    What a wonderful post. That’s how I want to be at 91!
    Nicki Anderson recently posted..Kevin Trudeau is a microcosm of what’s wrong with the diet industryMy Profile

  4. KymberlyFunFit November 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    You can do it! For one, you and Deborah are about the same size! I am not sure she has your sense of humor, but she has a lot else going on! Not many can match you in the humor department. Well, except what’s her twinnie.
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Meditation, Menopause, and MemoryMy Profile

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities November 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    HOW INSPIRING is this little lady!!!!!! When you mentioned she strapped on her pedometer, I was reminded of my mama! :) She’s not in her 90s but every day she has that pedometer on and gets her steps!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Two Truths, One LieMy Profile

  6. Pam@over50feeling40 November 17, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    She is my new inspiration! I need to remember her twice a week when I am struggling through my weight training!
    Pam@over50feeling40 recently posted..Bobbi Brown Eyes Create Holiday BeautyMy Profile

  7. February 12, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Wonderful article – Activity is the best medicine as we grow. A visit to the gym is way better than a visit to the doctor!


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