Walking the streets near her Atlanta home is just one part of the daily regimen that keeps Arlette Leveque bursting with more energy than people half her age. Before she steps out the door, she sips some agave juice mixed with cayenne pepper.
During her long strolls, she often stops to stretch, and if she’s feeling extra pumped, she’ll throw in a few push-ups. She might hit the gym at some point. Then there’s her epic “green juice.” A day isn’t complete without a cup of her homemade mix of ginger, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, apple, celery, parsley, and water, which she blitzes in a blender.
“My morning walk and juice is like eating very good food,” she says. “You take one bite, then you want to take another. It makes me even hungrier to enjoy the moment, eat well, and keep exercising.”
It’s a tremendous turnaround for Leveque, who almost lost her independence and adventurous spirit when a devastating car accident in 2006 caused serious arm and shoulder injuries. Surgery and years of physical therapy were almost too much to bear, but walking led her to rediscover a happy and healthy place where she now shines.
“After my accident, I couldn’t work anymore, so instead I focused on taking care of me. Walking became a way for me to do that,” she says. “Now walking is like my medicine. If I’m stressed out, walking is the best way I can deal with anything and everything.”
Leveque says she also learned to endure sometimes painful treatments and regain her independence with the help of a physical therapist named Debra. Leveque says the recovery experience changed her life.
“It used to take me a long time to trust someone,” she says. “But when Debra finally got close to me and I started trusting her, my confidence levels started growing and I’ve never looked back. One day I said to her, ‘What you did for me, I am going to pay it forward and help everyone I can.’”
At nearly 70 years old and living on a fixed income, she’s doing just that. Leveque was an early social media adopter, initially using online platforms to share her passion for diet, fitness, and workout fashion with the world. Today, she’s a social media pro, and shares motivational pictures and videos of her athletic prowess and dietary commitment.
Coronavirus has been a challenge for someone as outgoing as Leveque, but it hasn’t stopped her from staying healthy and positive.
She’s made a group of friends who now join her walks while wearing masks and staying socially distanced. She also enjoys sharing fitness tips she’s learned through her online SilverSneakers exercise classes. She takes the classes for free thanks to her Humana Medicare Advantage plan, which she signed up for after speaking with Nancy Garrett, a Humana employee and licensed sales agent.
“Arlette has adapted well to the current situation concerning COVID, but in a way that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing a full, healthy life,” says Garrett, who quickly became a personal friend after helping Leveque select a Humana plan. “She’s a source of inspiration and positivity to everyone she meets, especially me! Arlette is a testament to what we call ‘human care’ at Humana—looking at every facet of someone’s life and helping them find easy solutions to achieve the best possible health.”
Beyond exercise, Leveque takes great pride in promoting a healthy, nutritious diet. Following a post-walk fruit smoothie, a typical lunch consists of fresh fish and veggies she prepares herself. During the pandemic, she’s even come up with a few new recipes, including a delicious vegetable-based smoothie made with sweet potatoes, kale, and other fresh greens.
“I put so much of myself out there because I want people to know they need to take care of themselves and there’s nothing to be ashamed about,” she says. “It’s really you against yourself. I am always in competition with myself, and I know somebody is out there suffering like I used to do. I just want people to know that I’m here for them, and together we can make a positive change in our lives.”