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?
Treasures By Brenda
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