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The Schmooze

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says She Kept Planking Through Cancer Treatment

Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continued to do planks and push-ups throughout her recent treatment for pancreatic cancer, she told a crowd at Berkeley Law School on Monday, CNN reports.

The 86-year-old endured radiation treatment for cancer over the summer. She has previously survived colon and lung cancer; she also underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2009. In late August, doctors at New York City’s Sloane Kettering hospital announced that there was “no evidence” of cancer anywhere in Ginsburg’s body.

And on Monday, at Berkeley during a short recess from the Court, asked how she is feeling now, she responded, “Compared to how I was six months ago, very well.”

That speedy recovery is likely thanks, in part, to the Justice’s rigorous commitment to exercise. Much has been made of Ginsburg’s workouts — images of the diminutive judge wasting equipment in the gym has spawned a viral videos and a fitness book by her personal trainer. But her account of doing endurance training during radiation still shocks.

Doing an abbreviated fitness routine during her cancer treatment, Ginsburg said, involved “pushups,” as well as planks, “both front and side,” and weight-bearing workouts. She spent her time in front of the audience at Berkeley speaking about exercise as well as the landmark sex-discrimination cases she has ruled on, and how attacks on the First Amendment during McCarthyism inspired her to pursue the law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Cancer, the Justice reflected, imbues you with a “zest for life that you haven’t had before.”

“You count each day as a blessing,” she said.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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