Aging Gracefully

I recently received an article from Parade about running. The front cover shows a picture of a woman dressed in athletic gear standing on a track. Her strong stance and joyful smile makes her look around 80 years old. You can imagine my surprise when I opened up the article and found out that she was actually 94!


The woman’s name is Olga Kotelko and she is a retired schoolteacher that recently picked up masters track and field. She competes in a variety of track and field events such as the long jump, high jump, triple jump, hammer, javelin, shot put, discus, and a variety of running events. She is the only woman competitively competing in the long jump and high jump over the age of 90.


Olga is not the only “super senior.” 101-year old Fauja Singh recently completed the London Marathon. That’s right, MARATHON.


So, what’s Olga’s secret to aging gracefully? There are a few things about Olga that sets her apart from other people her age.

1. Stay Active

Although Olga didn’t pick up masters track and field until she was 77, she has been active nearly all her life. She played baseball with her siblings when she was younger and continued playing until 75.

2. Don’t Be Sedentary

Although Olga is retired, she never stays sitting for very long. Whether it’s to cook, fetch something from upstairs, or make a phone call, she’s always moving. Olga hardly ever watches television and only worked a desk job for a short period of time.

3. Be Happy

When asked if she has any goals Olga replies, “To keep on going. Not to stop. And I don’t have any plans to stop and I don’t see why I should stop. I’m enjoying every minute of it.” It’s evident that Olga loves track and field and it makes her happy – so of course why would she stop!?! Do what you love.

I’ve heard plenty of people tell me that I should enjoy running and being active because some day I won’t be able to. What if that actually wasn’t true, though? What if we didn’t have to give up what we love? Who says that we can’t be running marathons at age 100 like Fauja Singh?

Although this seems pretty unbelievable, I think it’s good to keep the possibilities open. Just like anything else, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the standards or “norms” of society. The possibilities that our life holds are endless and we should enjoy life to the full. After all, it’s much more fun to think that way instead of believing the contrary.

Our bodies will age – that’s inevitable. We will get slower – that’s also inevitable, but who says that we have to stop doing what we love to do? I believe anything is possible if we set our minds to it.

Here’s a video of Olga. Pretty amazing!

Do you know any “super seniors?” What is their secret? What do you think?


7 thoughts on “Aging Gracefully

  1. A lot of people forget the importance of exercise like running…it would be the cheapest way to stay healthy, despite old age..I am inspired by the lady, being able to age gracefully is something that most of us dreamed of! She might have started running young and continue to do it that is why she remained fit and healthy. I hope more people get to know its importance so we won’t have to be in nursing homes or long term care facilities when we grow old 🙂

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