What is it?
Standing up a lot!
This is revealed in book that is at once, inspirational, uplifting and provides practical easy-to-use ideas for living a healthier and happier life. It is called:
“What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the Ninety-Something Track Star Who Is Smashing Records and Outpacing Time, and What She Can Teach Us About How to Live. by Bruce Grierson
A fascinating look at the way we age today and the extent to which we can shape the process
In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson explores what the wild success of a ninety-three-year-old track star can tell us about how our bodies and minds age.
Olga Kotelko is not your average ninety-three-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, she holds over twenty-three world records in track and field, seventeen in her current ninety to ninety-five category.
Convinced that this remarkable woman could help unlock many of the mysteries of aging, Grierson set out to uncover what it is that’s driving Olga. He considers every piece of the puzzle, from her diet and sleep habits to how she scores on various personality traits, from what she does in her spare time to her family history.
Olga participates in tests administered by some of the world’s leading scientists and offers her DNA to groundbreaking research trials.
What emerges is not only a tremendously uplifting personal story but a look at the extent to which our health and longevity are determined by the DNA we inherit at birth, and the extent to which we can shape that inheritance. It examines the sum of our genes, opportunities, and choices, and the factors that forge the course of any life, especially during our golden years.”
Powerful lessons from the book:
“Standing up a lot is ‘the single most important habit we can acquire,’ believes Vernikos.” Joan Vernikos is the godmother of inactivity studies and the author of Inactivity as well as Sitting Kills, Moving Heals. She is a physiologist and the former director of life sciences at NASA.
“The second best exercise, bang for buck, is to stay standing…in terms of muscle activation, standing for two hours has been likened to going for a two mile run.”
“Our way, for the most part, is to sit staring at screens. When people do that, it is becoming abundantly clear, they develop health risks that can’t be fixed by even periodic bouts of intense exercise.”
“Getting a blast of cardio every other day isn’t enough to be ‘fit,’ although—and this is the problem—many of us think it is.”
“In other words, if I found reasons to get up and move around regularly all day, my health would improve even if I never get another run in again...Forget aerobic versus anaerobic and all those other distinctions for a second; this is much more basic.”
“Intensity concentrates physiological benefits of exercise…Martin Gabala’s (research) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, suggests we can get by on as little as seven minutes of exercise a week, if that exercise is intense enough.”
“Modern life is alien to our design specs…We’re using this machine called the human body in ways that would void the manufacturer’s warranty…the key to robust health over the long haul is to try to live in a way that shrinks the mismatch (between our design specs and how we use our body) as much as possible.”
“The moment halfheartedness becomes a habit, something dies in us.” “Nobel laureate James Watson, codiscoverer of DNA (said) ‘Men of fifty don’t like to fail…which is why they are so dull.’”
“’Exhaustion is the shortest way to equality and fraternity.’” Nietzche said that. “You can be in a book club or a coffee club with somebody for years and never really feel close to them. Comfort doesn’t promote togetherness. Discomfort does.”
The intense training and competition that Olga participates in creates a kind of supercharged friendship, “requiring more of a commitment—to the memory of how it began, to keeping the little flame of the thing alive in the long term, to the ongoing well-being of the other person. ‘Each assists the other in living a good life, a life of virtue and happiness’ (said) Plato, who himself spent a certain amount of time in the gym.
If athletes grow into particularly rich friendships with one another over time, it may be that dimension of mutual improvement that explains it. They get better, and are better, together, and they know it…That this is all terribly hard work seems to matter.”
A delight to read.
See a 2 minute clip of the author interviewing Olga:
The Vancouver Sun article on Olga: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/What+Makes+Olga+reveals+what+94yearold+teach+about+aging+well/9408193/story.html
The author’s website: www.brucegrierson.com
Boston Globe article on Olga: