Role Models To Inspire You As You Age

pilates & awesome ageing pilates inpiration May 01, 2022
"We retire too early and we die too young, our prime of life should be in the 70s and old age should not come until we are almost 100."
 Joseph Pilates pointed out the dangers of becoming inactive far too early in life and the average life expectancy has greatly increased since he made this statement  last century.  In 2021 the average life expectancy in Australia was 83.64 years and in 1940 for example it was 65.81 years.  We are living longer but as we age, it's so important to keep looking ahead at all the adventures we want to experience and the goals we want to achieve.  We are constantly being bombarded with the negative aspects of ageing and I think it's so important to have older role models who are living long, happy healthy lives as they age.  If you are younger than these amazing people you can look up to them and be inspired by their achievements and pick up some useful advice to  incorporate into your own life.  So let's start at the top with the oldest recorded living person in the world at the time of writing this post:

Sister André - 118 Years Old


Born Lucile Randon on February 11, 1904 in France, this supercentenarian has led an incredible life and still keeps active today.  She has lived through World War 1 and 2 and The Great Depression.  She survived the Spanish Flu of 1918 but even more amazingly contracted Covid-19 in January 2021 and after 3 weeks of illness, miraculously survived to celebrate her 117th Birthday.  She also holds the title for the oldest recorded Covid-19 survivor.  Before becoming a Catholic nun working with orphans and the elderly, she worked as a governess and teacher.  She currently lives in a nursing home in the south of France and even though she has been blind for about the last 10 years she still likes to keep her mind active and her body moving which contributes to her longevity.  Her other "guilty" secret is chocolate and a glass of wine each day!  Wine in Europe generally has a lower alcohol content than in Australia or the USA so maybe Sister André shouldn't feel so guilty as it obviously works for her!

Johanna Quass - 96 Years Old


Born on November 20, 1925 in Germany, Johanna  was certified on April 12, 2012 as the worlds oldest active competitive gymnast by the Guiness World Records.  You may have seen this small, grey-haired, strong, flexible woman on socai media performing gymnastics when some of her videos went viral a few years ago.  In a video of her on the paralllel bars at 91 she moved beautifully and it's hard to believe she is in her 90s as she has such control and fluidity of movement.  She began gymnastics at an early age and was competing by the age of 10.  Her training was interrupted by World War 2 when she undertook Nazi Germany's compulsory social service duties.  She eventaully resumed her training and became a gymnastics coach and focussed on teaching for many years.  At the age of 56 she started competing again in veterans' competitions and won many awards up until 2018 when a biceps injury meant an end to her competitive gymnastics career.  At the age of 95 she could still stand on her head! Johanna had a passion for gymnastics and she just kep doing it for as long as she physically could.  Movement has kept Johanna in peak physical condtion.  She eats a diet high in fruits and vegetables and trains for 1 hour per day.  She has even designed a routine she can do in bed.  At 88 years young,  Joahnna Quass said "The sterotypes of weak older people hurt us all.  I like showing younger people what's possible."

Madame Suzelle Poole - 82 Years Old


Born in 1949 in England, this classical ballet dancer was still teaching ballet, choreographing and performing at the age of 80.  She credits her good health to her life long ballet training she began at the tender age of seven.  One of the highlights of her profressional dancing career was with the Houston Ballet in Texas where she reached the rank of soloist and also trained young dancers as well.  After 8 years she returned to England where she danced with the Royal Ballet School.  Many dancers would have hung up there pointe shoes at this time but not Suzelle.  She continued teaching, performing and choroegraphing right throughout her seventies.  She particularly enjoys performing at retirement homes with an audience who are of a similar age to her and passing on her knowledge to children.  She writes poetry and is a published author of 3 childrens' books.  Her aim is to inspire and she has certainly acheived her goal.  "I like to help people.  I was taught that by the people around me. And I believe ballet helps people.  I have joy for dancing.  It's definitely keeping me healthy at my age.  It encourages me to move my body.  Many people my age, they just sit.   Dancing is good exercise."  I couldn't agree with you more Suzelle!

Cliff Young - 81 Years Old at the time of his death


Born on February 8, 1922 in Victoria, Australia this potato farmer became an "Aussie Legend" when he won the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon in 1983 at the age of 61.  At a distance of 875 kilometres this course is considered one of the toughest in the world and his shuffling gait which became know as the Cliff Young Shuffle is still used by athletes today to conserve energy.  His steady pace enabled him to beat his next competitor by 9 hours!  Growing up in a poor farming family he used to round up the stock on foot as they couldn't afford horses which kept him physically fit and turned out to be excellent training for his futture endeavours.  He became interestd in running competetively around the age of 56 with small events and just kept going.  He was still competing well into his 70s.  When asked about his diet, he believed oats and a vegetarian diet gave him the edge over his competitors.  He saw how oats gave his horses more energy instead of a grass only diet so he fugured they would do the same for him.  His advice for older people who think their best years are behind them? "Get out of your wheelchairs and start doing a few laps if you can. If you don't get any exercise your joints start seizing up like a rusty engine.  The doctors once told me I had arthritis in my joints and to take it easy so I said, Ill fix that up, I'll run it out.  So I kept running and it disappeared.  It's like rust that get's into a vehicle.  Well I think it was like rust in me.  I reckon you have to keep your joints moving.  Absolutely. No matter what you do, you have to keep moving.  If you don't wear out you rust out and you just rust out quicker than you wear out." He passed away on November 2, 2003 but he is now part of Australian history and is an enormous inspiration for older people everywhere to get moving and acheive your goals!
So as you can see age is no barrier to acheiving your goals and living an incredible life. You may not want to be a gymnast or dancer but whatever you particular passion is in life keep pursuing it as you age. My online Pilates program is ideal for helping you to stay strong, fit and flexible at as you age so you can do all the amazing things you have planned.  If you are ready to start your Pilates journey and enjoy all these benefits click HERE to read about what options I have to offer you.  Alternatively, email me at [email protected] - I'd love to help you reach all your goals and live an amazing life as you age!

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