I don’t know what most 64-year-old women are doing, but Ruby Carter-Pikes is out here winning body building competitions!
A 64-year-old great-grandmother from Los Angeles beat out several of her younger competitors in a fitness competition earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ruby Carter-Pikes and her six-pack abs placed second in the Women’s Figure category, placed in the Fit Moms catergories, and was named Women’s Super Masters Champion.
On her Body Proud profile Ruby says she was motivated to focus on her health as a result of watching her family members suffer from poor eating habits. As Huff Po points out, her grandmother died at 57 years old, after being diagnosed with a heart problem and high cholesterol; her mother battled diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease; and her sister’s leg was amputated as a result of diabetes. Ruby’s niece was diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years old and lived with it until she was 32.
Ruby says she was also motivated to get healthy after doctors diagnosed her with a heart condition that would cause an interruption in her breathing and tiredness. They said there was nothing they could do to help her, so she decided to help herself. Ruby began eating healthy, running marathons, serving as a personal trainer at work and body building.
In a time when “black girls are running!” is a national headline, this mother of four is making it clear that a healthy lifestyle is indeed a lifestyle. Trumpeting the benefits of physical exercise and making changes to one’s diet, she balks at the idea that genetics are the cause of the health problems that seem to plague African-Americans disproportionately. Saying on her online profile: “Coming from a black family, and most Hispanics, too, we die from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, kidney failure, it’s not because of our genes, it’s because of what we eat.”
Studies will continue pushing out stories saying black women don’t benefit from exercise; however, if a 64-year-old women can look like this great-grandmother does then surely exercise and healthy eating can benefit anyone. Even black girls.
Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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