3 Broken Ribs Couldn’t Keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg Out of the Gym

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been through a series of health scares in the last 12 months. First, the Supreme Court Justice fell and broke three ribs in November 2018. Then, while she was receiving treatment, doctors discovered cancerous nodules on her lungs; this was Ginsburg’s third cancer diagnosis (she had previously undergone surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer and pancreatic cancer). And in August of this year, reports emerged that Ginsburg had once again been diagnosed with a tumor in her pancreas and had three weeks of radiation therapy.

But through it all, the 86-year-old Justice has remained as committed to her personal fitness as she has to upholding democracy. During an appearance Monday night at Berkeley Law, when asked if she was back in the gym following her cancer treatment, Ginsburg responded: “Yes, I never left it. Even in my lowest periods, I never left it. Even in my lowest periods, I couldn’t do very much but I did what I can.”

Hitting the gym can be the last thing on a person’s mind when recovering from radiation treatment or surgery (not to mention three broken ribs), but Ginsburg’s dedication to her fitness is especially commendable given how famously tough her training regime is: her trainer Bryant Johnson wrote a book entitled The RBG Workout inspired by their sessions together, which as proven to be the downfall of people who are decades younger.

“I do push-ups, planks,” Ginsburg said Monday, “front and side, lots of weight-bearing exercises.” She also added that her health troubles have left her with a “zest for life” and that she “counts each day as a blessing.”

And as if her contributions to politics and culture aren’t already noteworthy enough, Ginsburg has just been named the recipient of the 2019 Berggruen Prize, an award of $1 million given annually to somebody who is recognized as having had a profound impact on human advancement and self-understanding. She is the first non-philosopher to be awarded.

“Few in our era have done more to bring vital philosophical ideas to fruition in practical affairs than Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said prize chairman Kwame Anthony Appiah, “She has been both a visionary and a strategic leader in securing equality, fairness, and the rule of law not only in the realm of theory, but in social institutions and the lives of individuals.”

In other words, what an absolute baller.

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