A 73-year-old’s Secret to Staying Happy & Healthy

nan at sole challenge with friends

Nan Druskin, pictured second from left.

A typical day for Winter Park resident Nan Druskin, begins with an hour walk around Park Avenue, then Zumba class, weights and cardio at the Winter Park Community Center (WPCC).

In the afternoon she takes her neighbor’s dog for a walk in the park, and then heads back to the WPCC for a course on improving balance. After that she meets with one of the Healthy Central Florida (HCF) walking groups at the YMCA for a 40 minute walk, and then joins some friends for dinner.

Finally, just before bed, she practices her eight Tai Chi moves.  It’s no wonder she is putting the rest of us to shame with her 25,000 steps a day!

The HCF team first met Nan when she joined Walk with a Doc (WWAD) – one of our free, weekly 40-minute community walking groups.  Nan is the first one there every Thursday evening – full of energy and ready to lead the group with her flashlights and reflector gear.

Nan has also left her mark in our Walk90 competition – a 90 day walking challenge that tracks steps with a simple online tool.  She just completed over 900 miles and finished in fourth place out of nearly 400 walkers.

How does she find the energy for all this activity? Aside from the consistent exercise, Nan is actively involved in her community and always looking for ways to meet new people.  “You can’t have health without happiness – getting involved and building relationships with people is just as important as exercise”, said Nan.

Whether it’s encouraging her neighbors to join her at Zumba class or being a listener to a fellow walker at WWAD, Nan creates a sense of community and fellowship for the people around her.  “If I see a new face in class, I introduce them to everyone because I want them to feel welcome.”  She describes many of the groups she’s involved with as family.  “When someone doesn’t show up we are all concerned.  We look out for each other.”

After teaching Latin at Colonial High School for 22 years, Nan is a guru at making learning fun.  She currently volunteers as a teacher at the Catch Healthy Habits after school program at Rollins College, a program funded by the Winter Park Health Foundation.  The program connects adults 50+ with kids in grades K-5, where they teach a lesson on healthy eating habits and lead the children in 30 minutes of physical exercise.  “I can take the dullest lesson and make it exciting.  It’s a scripted course so I add visual aids whenever I can to add more impact for the kids”, said Nan.

What is Nan’s advice for anyone looking to stay healthy for a lifetime?  She says, “There are so many community courses – take advantage of it.  You will meet people with similar interests and end up doing more and more.  For instance, a new member at the WPCC had been curious about doing Zumba; I told her come to my class the following week.  Guess what?  She loves Zumba!”

If you can trust anyone for the secret to a healthy life it’s Nan Druskin.  She is proof that physical activity and social involvement are equally important for having a healthy and happy life.

Meet new people and get active by coming to one of our weekly community walks, or joining a class at the WPCC or a YMCA near you.  Or check out fun, free activities on findactivefun.org.  And if the thought of going alone is holding you back – you can count on Nan to take you under her wing and make you feel right at home.

To hear Nan in her own words, view this video.