A 94-year-old-woman outshines those less than half her age
There is a common phrase that you are only as young as you feel. It might have a lot more to do with than just feelings. Bruce Grierson an author for The New York Times Magazine, recently covered a story about Olga Kotelko, a 94-year-old woman who owns more world records than probably anyone you know. Her specialties are in the high jump, the hammer throw and the 200-meter run. This is quite remarkable for someone young, let alone someone who didn’t even take up the sport until the age of 77.
Grierson was quite the opposite. He was living an inactive life and described himself as not being able to see his feet beneath his growing potbelly. He lacked energy, drive and his memory was slipping. He felt like the complete opposite of Kotelko, so his new mission became identifying the reasons she was aging so well, so he could change his own life.
He and Kotelko agreed to a project and she became the study of his research. Grierson wanted to write a book about the marvelous health of Kotelko and invited help from researchers in the fields of gerontology, exercise physiology and genetics.After countless studies, he found never-ending opinions but little definitive proof to solve the mystery.
They looked at heredity as it accounts for about 25 percent to 30 percent of longevity. Her tests showed that she lacks at least one gene associated with longevity, and that her telomeres, chromosome caps that shorten with age, are merely average in length.
They considered her diet. You might think Kotelko ate a really healthy diet, but hers was really not overly focused on healthy eating. She enjoyed a diet of red meat, sauerkraut, cottage cheese and sour milk, and healthy servings of tapioca pudding.
They reviewed her lifestyle. Here came an “Ah Ha” moment. What did appear to be most effective is exercising. Grierson said that since Kotelko began her career in track and field at the age of 77, she has rarely stood still. One thing in particular he noticed is that she moves even when she isn’t exercising. That’s something many of us, especially those with desk jobs, rarely do.
After working with Kotelko, Grierson wrote the book and ended it with nine rules for healthy living. The nine secrets remain in the book and are based on Kotelko’s unique life, and extraordinary abilities.