Known as Miss Ida throughout her Bronx community, Ida Keeling isn't your typical athlete. Her fierce independence propelled her through the Great Depression, homelessness as a single mother, and the civil rights movement. But her greatest trials were yet to come.
When Ida's two sons were brutally murdered, she felt she didn't have the strength to carry on. Then, at age sixty-seven, she laced up her first pair of running shoes and began to chase the paralyzing sorrow from her heart.
Now 102, Ida is a world-record-holding runner who is still on the track. In Can't Nothing Bring Me Down, Ida offers truths and stories from a life devoted to loving Jesus, sacrificing for her family, and running a good race all the way to the finish line.
Lambeth Hochwald, contributor for Parade Magazine (@LambethHochwald) sat down with Keeling, who was recently profiled in the HBO documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, to find out what keeps her going strong.
If you could speak to every single reader of your book, what would you tell them?
I would say that I hope it’s a wonderful experience reading my book. I hope readers get some new experiences and old age thoughts and feelings and what happened back then and all that kind of stuff. I also hope that they take away how good exercise is. Exercise and strengthening yourself, and staying alert and focused, is so important. I want readers to pay attention to what they’re doing.
What was it about running that helped you so much?
I hear you can still do push-ups?
Yes. I have arthritis now, so I’ve got these aches and pains, but I can still do them. I have my bike, my mat and my weights and I use them. I like to keep moving.
What’s the most important advice you want to share with our readers?
Love yourself first. Do what you need to do, not what you want to do. Also, try to eat good, healthy foods. I eat cereal, fruit, greens and my daughter is a big protein shake maker. I eat all kinds of greens and I’m drinking protein a lot. I don’t like overdoing sweets, so dessert is always applesauce or sometimes pie. At a certain age, sweets take over, but I’m very careful not to let too much sweet, grease and too many seasonings get into my diet.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
Yes, when it comes to health. I believe that if you don’t take care of your body, you’re a loser. I always say, “Take care of your insides and your insides will take care of you.” There are people less than half my age who can’t do the things I can do, so that’s saying something.
She said it best :
and last but not least....
"Get up and move. DO SOMETHING. It's never too late to start moving!"
God Bless you, Miss Ida- You are Truly an inspiration for all of us!!
Read Ida Keeling's Book "Can't Nothing Bring Me Down"
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