Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | November 30, 2010

Fountain of Youth, part 2

Olga Kotelko, 91 year old long jumper

Olga Kotelko, the 91-Year-Old Track Star –

Holy cow. Check out the picture and article above. This gal is my hero – she is 91 years old and so active and positive and strong. Yes, of course genetics has a role in her amazing longevity, but research is proving again and again that intense exercise (weight bearing, explosive) not only builds and maintains muscle but may also slow, and in some cases reverse, the aging process.  In a nutshell, intense exercise may cause the body to rejuvenate.

Here are some details about my girl, Olga:

-She started playing softball at age 65 and was introduced to track and field at 77. She now has 23 world records in the sport.

-At 91, she says she has the same energy she had at age 50. (!!!!)

The NY Times Sunday magazine article explores how we underestimate what older people are capable of as far as their heart rate and strength, and this poo-pooing is a great disservice. From the story:  “Part of the challenge is the mind-set or dogma that we need to slow down as we get older,” [says exercise physiologist Scott Trappe. For example, the belief that aging joints and tendons can’t take real weight-training is dead wrong; real weight-training is what might just save them. Seniors can work out less frequently, Trappe reckons, as long as they really bring it when they do.

So bring it, people! Heavier loads and explosive movement are the prescription for building and keeping muscle and research shows the earlier you start working out like this, the more muscle health you have in the bank as you age.

I’ve noticed with myself that strength builds upon itself – the more I can do, the more I want to do, if that makes sense. My body now asks for exercise; it’s food for my muscle. I know this physical hunger for exercise sounds crazy to those of you who are untried in this area, especially as exercise can be a drag and a burden. But hit the level where you’re really into it, body and soul, and it becomes a relief and a treat.  Every time I do a set of pullups, something most women shy away from because we’re told we don’t have the upper body strength, I am living proof that we’re naturally built to move, powerfully. I’m just did the work(outs) to get to this place – and so can you. Just ask Olga.

So what does explosive, weight bearing exercise look like? Of course there are the usual lifting weight moves you see in the gym, like dead lifts (kind of love those) and curls (yawn),  but there are also ways to use your own body as the weight you move. Check out the article linked below. It has some good exercises – stuff I do with my trainer – and it also talks about how these exercises are “the most effective way to burn fat fast” as you’ll crank up your metabolism with the muscle you’ll build. So check it out, and I’ll meet you at the track when we’re in our 90’s.

How to Burn Fat Fast with Bodyweight Exercises.

Curious about JLo’s abs and how Halle looks so insanely awesome – and do YOU want to get inspired and motivated? Read this earlier post: The Fountain of Youth.


  1. […] was so happy to read this story last week on  about my hero,  track star Olga Kotelko. I’ve written about her  before and I’d describe her as, wow, what are the words here?,  let’s go with this […]


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