Joan Lunden: Helping People Recommit to Their Health

Joan Lunden spoke of her desire to motivate and inspire people to recommit to their health at the AARP 50+ Expo in Orlando last week. I was privileged to be able to ask Joan how she motivates herself to manage her overflowing to-do list!

Julia Valentine: Joan, you inspire so many people to pursue the best in their lives: a healthy lifestyle, happiness. What motivates you personally to go out and to do as much as you do?

Joan Lunden: You know, people sometimes say to me, “You work so hard, you are on the road so much, why don’t you retire?” And I look at them and say, “And do what? I mean, seriously, do what?”

You know, I am a very energetic person. When I come back from all of my travels around the country, my husband would say, “Not that I’m looking forward to it, but I want to be there when they do your autopsy, because I want to know what that chip is that you have, that the rest of us don’t have!”

I have an incredible, wonderful opportunity to work on a lot of programs. When you have done twenty years on Good Morning America, a lot of opportunity comes your way, and you can make the choice to either act on it, or not act on it. I really have a passion to make a difference in people’s lives, and when you write books that inspire and motivate people, you do have this opportunity. You can make a difference in people’s lives, and I hear it all the time, people go through every book line.

Five years ago, I got the idea to start a women’s wellness retreat. My husband owns summer camps for kids. Here was this beautiful facility, it was right in front of me, and I am out talking to women all the time about investing in their health so that they can have control over their future. So, I started Camp Reveille. Reveille means a wake up call. I just had 150 women there from all across America in August and, you know, they play. It is kind of like Walt Disney: he gets you there on the idea that you are going to play, but once you are there, you are educated at the same time, but you do not realize you are learning. The same thing happens, in my opinion, with Reveille. I provide them with a safe environment to have fun, to come together, to motivate each other, to inspire each other, share their stories with each other, and there is an amazing strength that comes out of a community of women. I cannot tell you how many women in their sixties and seventies made it to the top of our 50 foot climbing wall, never coming there with the intention of doing it. But we provide that safe, nurturing environment, and that kind of village bond that says, “Come on, you can do it, too!” You are able to connect people with their sense of play, and you are able to help them recommit to their health. I just enjoy the fact and, quite honestly, I have a lot of gratitude I get the opportunity to do this for people’s lives.

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When opportunity comes your way, you can make the choice to either act on it, or not act on it. Getting out of your comfort zone will enhance your quality of life. Activities that take you out of your comfort zone should be a part of your retirement planning. 

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