Serena Williams: Comeback Queen

The Wimbledon champion shares the details of her life-threatening health scares and her inspiring recovery.  

Bonnie Siegler
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Serena’s secrets for bouncing back and staying strong

  • Find a workout you love.
    “I used to hop on my bike when I was younger and really enjoyed it,” says Serena. “So now I do it two to three days a week. It brings me back to my youth.”
    Why it might help you: If a new wellness behavior (such as jogging) makes you happy, you’re four times more likely to continue doing it 15 months from now, say researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Get plenty of shut-eye. Serena struggles to get enough sleep, and she sometimes logs in just five hours a night. “When I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t get a good workout,” she has said. Why it might help you: Sleep deprivation can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and abnormal blood sugar levels, which can affect workouts, according to a recent study at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.
  • Don’t forget to laugh.
    “Having a sense of humor is my way of handling everything,” says the tennis champion.
    Why it might help you: It may help dull pain, boost your immune response, and promote relaxation—all of which can help you cope with stress or illness. 
  • Focus on healthy foods.
    “Red or kidney beans or black-eyed peas have become staples for me,” says Serena.
    Why it might help you: Beans are an excellent source of fiber, and high fiber intake is associated with reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.


April 2012