Lifestyle

How this 70-year-old still looks so hot in a bikini

Carolyn doing some baking.
Carolyn doing some baking. News Corp Australia

PERTH grandmother-of-four Carolyn Hartz doesn't spend hours in a gym or subscribe to a life of kale smoothies to get that enviable body.

In contrast to the rigorous undertones of health crazes followed by younger generations, Hartz, who turns 70 in July, says the bikini-body formula is simple.

"You have to watch what you put it in your mouth - that's number one - and two, you have to move your legs," she says.

Well it’s clearly working for her.
Well it’s clearly working for her. News Corp Australia

Hartz has never used her age as an excuse for slowing down. Even this year, as the author of Sugar Free Baking approaches her eighth decade, she's decided to start playing tennis again.

Funnily enough, she's hired the same coach who told her at the age of 30 that she was too old to play tennis and would never make A-grade.

"I thought at the time, 'Oh yeah? Watch me'. I love a challenge," she says of reaching her A-grade goal by 35. "My coach in his 80s now and we still laugh about it."

Does he think she's too old as a 70-year-old to be picking up the racquet again?

"When I rang up my coach, who's semi-retired now, he laughed. He said, 'You can play tennis but I'm telling you straight away your first lesson is going to be 30 minutes. Don't think you're going to play any longer because I know what you're like!'"

Racquet sports are more beneficial than other aerobic sports, according to a new study.
Racquet sports are more beneficial than other aerobic sports, according to a new study. News Corp Australia

Hartz's approach emphasises the results of a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The researchers found that not only does physical activity lower mortality, but playing racquet sports resulted in a 47 per cent lowered risk of dying than non-exercisers. Aerobic lovers had a 27 per cent lowered risk in comparison.

While Hartz has a balanced view towards health now, that's not to say she hasn't gone to extremes in the past.

Thirty years before it became cool to quit sugar, a pre-diabetes diagnosis prompted then 40-year-old Hartz to give up her daily cheesecake for breakfast, afternoon packet of biscuits and all other sweets for a year to get in control of her blood sugar.

"At the end of that year I looked like a picture of health and my blood sugar levels were fine. I didn't have a problem anymore but by that stage I disliked living like that because I was depriving myself of all the things I loved," she says.

So rather than continue the deprivation, she focused on eating healthily and mindfully enjoying treats so that she wouldn't overeat.

"In those days, we never talked about mindfulness but I became very aware of what I was eating. And so I did have my sweets and I made sure I tasted them."

Carolyn doing some baking.
Carolyn doing some baking. News Corp Australia

Her search for guilt-free indulging eventually led her to becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 55 when she opened SweetLife, a company that distributes a sugar alternative called Xylitol.

"I went back to all my favourite recipes, like lemon butter cake, jams, sauces, meringue - all those thing that I love - and changed what was in them to be sugar-free," she says.

When she makes cakes at home, she cuts them into slices and freezes the portions.

"I don't leave it out because the temptation is too great to eat the whole thing."

Other than staying active and eating mindfully, Hartz meditates every day and goes for walks with her husband of 40 years.

She admits that she has had some cosmetic work done, but that's not the secret to her looking so good.

"Yes I do get some maintenance done, but surgery is not the answer to a healthy wellbeing," she says.

She sleeps seven to eight hours per night and does charity work for the Brain Cancer Foundation. But, according to Hartz, the real secret to her health is her glass-half-full attitude.

Hartz points out that it doesn't mean life goes on without obstacles.

"I've always told my three children that life is not perfect. Everything won't go the way you want it to go, but that's fine.

"If you do have a challenge or a setback, get up. Go again. Because often that's the universe poking you in another direction. I'm a great believer in one door closes and another door opens.

"I'm not saying that I'm always up. No, I have my hard times as well, but the secret is the glass is half full. Get up and go again."

Topics:  bikini carolyn hartz editors picks general-seniors-news

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