Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Makes Olga Run

One of my interests is longevity and closely tied to that is health.

I read an awesome book - What Makes Olga Run - The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star, and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives.

It is the story of Olga Kotelko who is breaking all kinds of seniors records in track and field.  The story is made human by author Bruce Grierson who compares his decline (and he is perhaps 50) to Olga's seemingly non-decline.   He is a great writer.

Nobel winner, James Watson, said "men of 50 do not like to fail - that is why they are so boring".  Something to think about.  Walk closer to failure to be more interesting.

My lessons from the book (some with my interpretations)

1 - Move.   We are not designed to just sit.  The Fitbit is perfect for keeping this in sight.  Grierson tells of setting himself up in an easy chair complete with footstool as his work area.  I, also, do this at night.  This is bad.  I need to look at a standup desk.

2 - Break a sweat every day.  The Fitbit can lull one into thinking they are active but I can do my steps without ever breaking a sweat.  It even counts as "very active" when I am just walking at a normal pace (perhaps 4 MPH).  I am fairly good at this but need reminding.

3 - Lift weights.

4 - Sleep.  I am really working on this one.

5 - Be an optimist.  Not a fake optimist but a real one.  This ties to "lighten up" - manage stress (the exercise helps).

6  - It is all about habits.  Design ones that support health.

The final chapter has 9 rules.  One that I like is "Don't do it if you don't like it".  The last one is "begin now".

She is an inspiration.

Good companion reading for this would be another of my favourites - Younger Next Year.

And my heart goes out to my daughter Laura, now in Texas,  who has to deal with a horrific snow storm.


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