90-year-old Abilene fitness instructor shares secret to longevity

90-year-old Abilene fitness instructor shares secret to longevity

ABILENE, Texas - Ira Miller has enjoyed water aerobics for nearly 40 years.

She also loves to read and sing, but there's another interesting fact about Miss Ira that just might surprise you.

Miller has been a water aerobics instructor for 20 years. What's more impressive than that is she will be celebrating her 90th birthday this Sunday.

In addition to teaching her class at the YMCA, Miller also volunteers with her church.

So, what's her secret to longevity?

She credits her strong work ethic and faith in God.

"I won't let anybody steal that joy from me," Miller said. "No matter what has happened to me, I have His joy in my heart and so I think, basically, that might be it."

She also doesn't sit still for too long...well, sometimes...

"No, I do sit still," Miller said. "I read and when I read, well, I may wiggle."

Miller said you're never too old to exercise and you can always start out slow.

But does she plan on slowing down anytime soon?

"I will probably do it as long as I can put one foot in front of the other and get to the pool," she said.

"They [her students] say, 'You're an inspiration,' and I say, 'I am?' and they say, 'yes,'" she said. 

Miller said her dad taught her how to swim in the river when she was a little girl.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, water aerobics is one of the most popular exercises in the United States.

Miller said her older students tell her they always feel better after her classes.

Here are some facts on why the medical community says older adults could benefit from water exercise.

1. It delays the onset of osteoporosis, that affects 20 million women and 5 million men in the U.S.

2. It creates a sense of community or feeling of belonging.

3. Exercise helps to maintain balance and improves reflexes to decrease falls.

4. It also helps to prevent and regulate diabetes.

To join in on the fun at the Abilene YMCA's, click here for a list of their fitness classes.

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