Fitness icon Denise Austin, 65, reflects on wearing a bikini for the SI Swimsuit show: ‘It’s never too late’


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Denise Austin was stunned when Sports Illustrated Swimsuit asked her if she would walk the runway in a bikini.

The fitness icon joined her daughter, SI Swim model Katie Austin, at the 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit show in July. The mother and daughter proudly rocked two pieces on the catwalk for the live show at the W South Beach Pool in Miami Beach, Florida.

“At first I was like, ‘Am I really doing this? Are you kidding me? In a bikini at 65?'” Austin laughed. “But how exhilarating! It was this amazing, natural high. It was even an honor that they asked me. And then doing that with my daughter made it even more special. It was the highlight of my life walking the trail with my daughter. I still can’t get over it.

Katie Austin (left) and Denise Austin walk the runway at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach on July 16, 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida.
(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

The former gymnast shared that her daughter, 28, has been an inspiration to her.

“It brought tears to my eyes. [when I first saw her in SI]“, explained Austin. “I was so proud of her. She’s just the sweetest person with the biggest heart. And she is a hard worker. She tried three different years through Swim Search, so it’s not like it was given to her. And I’m so proud, because it’s one of his dreams. I remember seeing Christie Brinkley and Kathy Ireland on the cover and [thinking] how it was so important. So it’s amazing to see my daughter in the magazine. And she will always be a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model from now on.”

For over 30 years, Austin has been encouraging people to live an active lifestyle with his workout routines. She has sold over 24 million exercise videos and DVDs. She also ran the longest-running fitness show in television history. She’s always bursting with energy and enthusiasm while doing “full-body cardio” or working out to be “lean, toned, and totally fit” — all with a megawatt smile.

Katie Austin (left) and Denise Austin pose backstage at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach.

Katie Austin (left) and Denise Austin pose backstage at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach.
(Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

More recently, she teamed up with Easy Spirit to launch a new collection called “Easy Spirit x Denise Austin” on September 15. It includes active shoes designed for high or low impact training routines.

DENISE AUSTIN, FITNESS ICON, 65, AND HER DAUGHTER KATIE MODEL BIKINIS FOR THE SI SWIMSUIT SHOW: “PROUD MAMA”

“Shoes are the most important thing you need whether you’re walking or doing any form of fitness,” she explained. “When Easy Spirit asked me to collaborate, I was so excited, because I love their shoes, but I also wanted to create a more fun style with benefits. One shoe is great for fast walking and very light… the other is for brisk walking or running. I created both styles, but I walk at least 35 minutes a day. I wanted something where I could go out and walk my dog, wear it casually to do Pilates or just to run errands. I’m always in gym clothes, so that made sense.”

Austin said low-impact workouts are often overlooked, but there are many benefits for those who need motivation.

Denise Austin and Easy Spirit teamed up for a collection that was released on September 15.

Denise Austin and Easy Spirit teamed up for a collection that was released on September 15.
(easy mind)

“You could burn calories and get healthy without putting pressure on the joints,” she explained. “It’s easier on your knees, hips, thighs and back. I recommend a brisk walk, not a brisk walk…I also do low impact aerobics at home. So instead From a regular jumping jack, I’m going to do a heel jack where you don’t jump. Bigger muscles in the body burn more calories, so you can burn more if you use your thighs and glutes. You don’t have to need to jump to feel it and get your heart rate up.

According to Austin, her secret to feeling and looking young is surprisingly simple. She trains for 30 minutes a day and eats balanced meals consisting of “80% healthy foods and 20% sweets”, while drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

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“I love HIIT interval training,” she said. “When I walk, I do five minutes of a nice walk. Then I do a burst of brisk walking where I pump my arms and walk forward. Then I do another five minutes of walk and then climb higher, almost like a light jog. I also believe in a positive attitude. If I wake up feeling grateful, I’ll want to take good care of myself. And I’ll want to exercise. That’s a message I’ve been preaching for. 40 years. I am still a believer. That’s how I live.”

Denise Austin does high and low impact workouts daily to stay in shape.

Denise Austin does high and low impact workouts daily to stay in shape.
(easy mind)

Austin also emphasized experimentation in the kitchen — and eating everything in moderation.

“I love Mexican food!” she springs. “I love my tacos, my guacamole and my margaritas. They’re my treats. I come from a big family and we love to eat. When I go out to dinner, I want to have fun. I don’t even think about what I’m “I order – I just enjoy. And when I’m at home, I do my own cooking. I make food for my family all the time.”

The only message Austin has for other women her age is to keep moving.

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Denise Austin said her biggest message for women is that "It's never too late."

Denise Austin said her biggest message for women was that “it’s never too late”.
(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

“You can always improve your health,” she explained. “It’s all about energy levels. I exercise for health benefits but also to have the energy to enjoy my life. I’m sure 10 minutes a day will get you started. Walk for 10 minutes. If you could do that every day, you could improve your mind and your health.”

“I know exercise is one of the best preventative medicines, so if you could give yourself 10 minutes, it would make such a difference,” she continued. “You can help your mind and your body. And once you do that, you can build yourself up to 30 minutes. And there are all kinds of exercises out there. I like to do leg exercises in the kitchen. I do push-ups while I wait for my coffee to brew. Every day I think of ways to stretch and move more. If there’s a message I can give, it’s never too late.


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