06/23/2014 01:12 pm ET Updated Aug 23, 2014

Don't Act Your Age


How old do you feel? I feel about 30. Then I look in the mirror, and I don't see a 30-year-old. What I do see is someone who looks pretty good, is active and healthy, and has a serious spark to her. Sure there are days when I feel farther from 30, but I'm learning to live in the moment instead of staring down the barrel of age. I've decided not to act my age. Here's how I do it.

Find something you love and do it every day
Having passion in your life is more effective than any youth serum on the market. Find something that brings you joy and do it with energy and enthusiasm. It can be anything: cooking, parenting, working, dancing, volunteering, ice hockey. Find something that gets you excited to wake up in the morning.

Be lighthearted
A smile can take years off your face. Let's take a minute to stop taking ourselves, our work and our lives so seriously and be a little goofy. Make a point to have fun and laugh every day. Think of something that makes you feel happy and light and add it to your daily routine. For me, it's music and dancing.

Be flexible
If something stops working for you, change it. If you keep trying something and it doesn't work, whether it's a job, a relationship or a habit, do something else. Getting stuck in old patterns is what ages us in a negative way. I've learned to be flexible through practice... lots of practice.

Take risks
I've always liked taking risks. It's exciting. It opens you up to change and growth. When you take a risk and it works out it's especially gratifying. And when it doesn't, it's a chance to learn.

Bring the lessons and leave the baggage
It's important to learn from the blips and the struggles life hands you. Take what's positive and move on. Don't get mired in the negative experiences. I've learned more from my challenges than from the things that have come easily.

Don't give up on feeling good
Looking good and feeling good is a mindset. When I put effort into how I look it gives me a different energy. And while my appearance doesn't define me, it can make me feel more confident. And that helps at work and in social situations. Even cosmetic dentistry or plastic surgery can be an option provided you do your own research and choose a qualified, credentialed physician. Of course that's a personal choice that only you can make. So do your hair and makeup, wear something you like and show off your beautiful self!

Keep moving
I work to stay fit and healthy. Being active lets me go about my day feeling 30. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the Department of Health and Human Services, adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week and do strengthening activities at least two days a week. I like to start my day with a long walk outside with my dogs and of course I love to dance. Whether you join a fitness class, go outside to do some stretching or do a triathlon the key is to find something you like and do it regularly.

Don't focus on the number
I started Jazzercise 45 years ago, and today we teach 32,000 dance-based fitness classes around the world every week. People are always asking my age and are surprised to find out that I'm still teaching classes and running the business as CEO. I know it's a compliment, but since I rarely think about my chronological age in relation to what I'm doing and contributing, sometimes I have to remind myself to be gracious.

Defy expectations
Don't do what people expect from you at a particular age. Do what feels right for you and makes you feel good, whatever stage of life you're in.

Act like a kid
Sure, we collect more responsibilities as we age. And as people take us more seriously we tend to take ourselves more seriously, too. But acting like a kid can keep you young in spirit. Run, jump, play and be carefree as often as possible. Expressing childlike joy is freeing!

Connect mind, body and spirit
I believe nurturing the connection between mind, body and spirit gives us the best foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life. Keep educating yourself and be open to learning new things. Feed your body with exercise, sleep and eating well (at least most of the time). Feed your spirit by giving back to your community and surrounding yourself with positive people who bring life to what you do.

Age is just a number. It's how many candles are on a cake. It's not you. It's not what defines you. How we treat the passage of years is up to us. I've learned to appreciate my decades and the experiences they've given me. I've decided to focus on growing rather than aging. Who's with me?

Do you act your age? What's your best advice on aging? Please share and comment below.