Get moving today!
11 March 2014
There’s no time like the present to revitalise your body and mind – all you need is a little exercise.
If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics and marvelling at the athletes’ skill and fearlessness then remember - it’s never too late to challenge yourself. Of course, it might take time to achieve the fitness levels you need to snowboard and ski like an Olympian, but with a little determination you can still achieve some pretty incredible things.
Take Canadian track star Olga Kotelko for instance. At 94 years of age, Olga is showing no signs of slowing down - instead she’s tackling bigger and better athletic events, including 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, 4 x 100m relays, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, javelin and, her personal favourite, the hammer throw! And she’s not just competing – she’s winning. Olga currently holds 17 world records in her age category in the World Masters Competition, making her one of the greatest athletes today according to her age and division. Doctors have been amazed by her never-ending energy and physical and mental health. “I chose to be a young-at-heart athlete, rather than an old woman,” she told TODAY. It’s not even a case of having good genes or being an athlete her whole life – instead, the upbeat 94-year-old only took to track and field when she was 77, proving it’s never too late to get out there and give it a go!
Another active retiree is 102-year-old cyclist Robert Marchand. This incredible Frenchman has incredible fitness levels and smashed his own world record this year by riding almost 7 miles in an hour. Robert previously set the standard in the over-100 category back in 2012, before smashing his PB and riding a further 1.6 miles in the same time. As the current record holder, what made Robert go for another time? “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday,” he said. The veteran cyclist has amazed doctors with his balanced lifestyle – he trains regularly but still manages to squeeze in a glass of French wine every day. As for training, Robert rides regularly to stay on top of his game, often clocking up to 100km a day.
Yet another inspiring story is Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese mountaineer (Pictured above) and the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Yuichiro was determined to not let his age slow him down when it came to reaching his goal – the 80-year-old had previously scaled Mount Everest twice before but was refused to give up until he had conquered the 29,035 feet to reach the peak. However, it was the descent that proved tricky, with Yuichiro describing how he started feeling weak and lost strength in his legs, leaving him with no energy to move. Yuichiro then received help from other experienced mountaineers who were able to lead the octogenarian to base camp. It’s a remarkable feat for anyone, let alone for an 80-year-old who was also recovering from four recent heart surgeries. In order to train for his climb, Yuichiro showed the strength of a man half his age, training in Tokyo with weighted gear and running on a treadmill in a low-oxygen room.
So what’s the secret to these incredible athletes’ everlasting youth? Robert Marchand believes it’s all about getting active, “My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple.” Meanwhile Olga’s new goal isn’t sports related - it’s to live to 120. And she’s well on her way to achieving that, with researchers finding that she has the capability of someone 30 years her junior. Olga exercises every day and believes in plenty of rest - no less than eight hours a night. She also regularly meditates and stretches to keep her body supple, while Sudoko and puzzles keep her brain busy. “Be optimistic and face every day with a smile,” she says. “Praying, having good faith and a good relationship with your family. Friends, a lot of friends.”