Denise Austin Gets Congress in Shape

The fitness guru had members of Congress stretching at an event on Capitol Hill.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

Take your run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill luncheon filled with members of Congress, staffers, reporters, experts, and activists, and add fitness guru Denise Austin. What do you get? A roomful of members, staffers, reporters, experts, and activists stretching, tightening, and squeezing, all in the name of better health. Women's Policy Inc. and the Office of Women's Health at the Department of Health and Human Services hosted Austin, along with Reps. Gwen Moore and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Rep. Pat Schroeder, among others, to celebrate 10 years of advancements in women's health. And did Austin ever draw attention. "Everybody stand up—we're going to stretch a little," she ordered the confused, mostly female audience. "OK, everybody, stretch your arms up, stomach in, and lengthen your spine," she yelled. "Now squeeze the buttocks, tighten that tooshie. If you don't squeeze it, no one else will," she later added. This wasn't the first time Austin had led members of Congress through an exercise routine, but she gave this group high marks. "These women are fit. The one from Miami, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is great," she told Whispers. Austin couldn't resist showing off her own fit body as well. "Feel my tummy!" Austin said to Representative Moore, who gave the 52-year-old Austin's stomach a quick pat.

Denise Austin leads Rep. Gwen Moore (left) and others in an exercise routine.

Photo by Steve Ruskan courtesy of Women's Policy, Inc.

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