Martina Navratilova Shares Her Love of Fitness

No coach tells Martina Navratilova to hit the gym anymore.

After decades living a regimented and grueling schedule worthy of the world's greatest women's tennis player, she's the one who decides if, when and what games she plays.

And these days, the 53-year-old favors a pick-up game of ice hockey near her Aspen home, completing the cycling leg of a triathlon or a hike in preparation for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tennis, the sport in which she competed off and on until 2006, is now played just for fun.

Navratilova's love for exercise is in part why she signed on as fitness ambassador for the AARP -- a role that includes an appearance at the organization's next big national event, the Orlando@50+ Expo, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

She calls aging "annoying," but insists it's no reason to stop moving -- even in the face of health challenges, such as her recent diagnosis and successful treatment of breast cancer.

"You just accept aging, but in the same way you defy it," she says. "It doesn't mean you stop just because you're not as good or as fast or as strong. You still try to get the most of your body, whatever that is at that time."

Navratilova admits she didn't embrace this concept when she retired from the singles tennis tour in 1994 with a record 167 titles. (She returned in 2000 to success on the doubles circuit, retiring in 2006 with 177 doubles titles.) Navratilova had trained year-round since the age of 8 and jumped at the chance to turn her back on daily workouts. But she says she ended up "lazy" and "out of shape."

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