The video below and the copy at MasterTrack.com offer a quick glimpse of Olga Kotelko, one of the most medaled masters track and field athletes. Holder of hundreds of medals from many events, Olga is surprised at the way people marvel at and admire both her and her accomplishments. The twist to the story?
Olga is 94 years old.
Says Angela Brooks-Wilson, PhD and geneticist in Vancouver’s Genome Sciences Centre/B.C. Cancer Agency, “ We think longevity is probably about 70-75% lifestyle.” To Bruce Grierson, author of the Parade feature covering Olga, healthy aging is determined only by one quarter genetics and “up to three-quarters is determined by how you play the hand you were dealt.”
Grierson’s Six Smart Habits of Super Agers
- Swap the sudoku for sneakers. Physical activity trumps enhanced brain function. In a recently released analysis of studies on the effects of brain games designed to improve memory and function, researchers noted the games aren’t likely to enhance physical function. Physical activity, however, positively affects both physical and cognitive function.
- Stay on your feet. Hours of inactivity is known to increase risk of common afflictions such as high blood pressure, blood clots, and some cancers regardless of the fitness level of subjects. Even for people who were regularly active, being sedentary for long periods of time appear to erase gains.
- Eat real food. Olga follows a balance and moderation approach to daily eating. She eats 4-5 times daily, lightly in the evening, and doesn’t skip meals. She supplements daily with a baby aspirin and glucosamine.
- Be a creature of habit. Forming helpful habits can carry people well through each day as well as through stressful events.
- Cultivate a sense of progress. Without question, age brings physical changes. We become slower and lose muscle mass. Masters events are adjusted by age and gender to reflect the relative declines in performance. In other words, notes Grierson, “reframe progress so it becomes a relative measure…move the yardsticks.”
- Lighten up. Stressing over the details of life is a choice. Says Olga, “Honestly, I don’t have the time.”
Read the full article here.
Also, for fun, here’s a recent presentation I gave:
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