Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Makes Olga Run Book Review

What Makes Olga Run
As a blogger and an eBay seller, I spend a fair bit of time sitting at my computer in my chair. Maybe you do, too. My mind and my body know that this is wrong and I do try to work fitness into my life by getting to the gym at least a couple of times a week and walking daily. That last element becomes difficult but not impossible in the deep cold, snow and ice of our Canadian winters.

At my gym class there is an older woman who puts me to shame. She gets to the gym at least four times a week and sometimes more often than that. When she told me that she was reading a book called What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star, and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Grierson, I was intrigued.

By chance, the next time I was out shopping I stumbled across it. Because my friend had mentioned it, I opted to take it home. I carried it to my book club, which for whatever reason is populated by women of my age. I guess we could be called middle-aged though I am not sure of the definition of that age group. Most of us have raised families and are empty nesters. A couple still have teenagers at home. Some still work and others are retired. Physically I would say they are an active group of ladies. Whatever our similarities, we are definitely all interested in the process of aging and we took up Olga's story as our next book club assignment.

What Makes Olga Run? is the story of Olga Kotelko, a retired Canadian school teacher who went looking for something active to do. She started with baseball but did not like it when she was almost run down on the baseball diamond. She then found track and field and went on to became a 90-something year old super star.

As the book says on page 2, "Just how good is Olga?" Well, she holds 26 world records. She enters more events than others her age and than others much younger. She often does as many as six throwing events, three sprints and three jumps at one track and field meet. She beats records in her age group by leaps and bounds, pun intended. In 2009, she threw a javelin 20 feet farther than her nearest rival and her 100-meter dash time would have beat competitors two age brackets younger than she was.

Writer Bruce Grierson took up with admitted difficulty the job of following Olga around as she went through her days and as she allowed science to look at and into her body. The question that the book looks into is whether Olga is a superstar because of genetics, because of lifestyle choices or because of a combination of those factors? A subject that intrigues most of us.

The book looks at all of the pieces that we know and think go into healthy living from sleep and diet patterns to personality, exercise and genetics. It is 228 pages of easy-to-read information about Olga and what makes her tick. It closes with a summary called Nine Rules For Living. I will not list them here because I believe you need the explanation that comes with them that is included in the pages of this book. I will admit that I have work to do in numerous areas and I do intend to try to embrace some of the ideas in this book in order to live a bit better. They are not all, by the way, about fitness.

This book comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me, a 50-something year old empty nester though I believe that anyone who cares about their body and how and why we age will enjoy this book. I particularly appreciated the fact that the book was very readable. I think you will, too.

How about it? Are you curious about What Makes Olga Run?

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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7 comments:

  1. Having become much too sedentary of late, with a few too many pounds, and beginning to feel the advancing years, this book certainly appeals to me. Your excellent review definitely makes me want to check out Olga's story.

    Welcome to Review This, Brenda. Looking forward to reading reviews from you.

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  2. It sounds like an excellent book! I sit behind the computer most of the day too and I have recently started wondering how to stay fit (or perhaps get fit again) This book may well provide the wisdom & inspiration I need to get into shape and to stay healthy. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  3. Brenda, your review made me think of a local man who, last year, broke the United States Masters Swimming record in the 100-meter breaststroke - in the 95-99 year-old division. He gave up tennis a number of years ago because of a foot injury and took up swimming at that time. He's quite an inspiration to the young swim team members where he swims. I have a feeling he shares many of Olga's rules for living. Her story sounds fascinating and inspiring as well. Great book review!

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  4. Brenda, your review made me think of a local man who, last year, broke the United States Masters Swimming record in the 100-meter breaststroke - in the 95-99 year-old division. He gave up tennis a number of years ago because of a foot injury and took up swimming at that time. He's quite an inspiration to the young swim team members where he swims. I have a feeling he shares many of Olga's rules for living. Her story sounds fascinating and inspiring as well. Great book review!

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  5. Your review has me wanting to read this. Yes, I'll be picking this up, and it may be something my mom would read as well - Very inspirational. Just goes to show us what is possible if we just put our minds to it! Being in Canada too, I do love to walk in the cold cold weather, but am all set to go with a new indoor exercise bike which I'm diligent about using daily (the better word may be 'addicted' to using my bike daily now). Great review!

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  6. Thanks, ladies. Heather, you made me laugh out loud. Interestingly, I had a long queue of people - including my mother - to hand the book to after I finished with it. It is definitely a subject that many are interested in.

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