Inspiring Seniors: Defying the Odds
Several studies have shown that aging is a predisposing factor to many health conditions such as memory loss, arthritis, heart diseases, loss of balance, and more. But it seems that a growing number of seniors defy the concept of aging as they try to prove that age is merely a number.
The key to living well regardless of age is completely in your hands, and your mind.
We have searched far and wide, round the corners of the web, for these amazing seniors who have performed the incredible well into their senior years. We hope to inspire you to ignore any preconceived limits and defy the odds.
Liesel Weiser, a 99-year old fitness instructor
Liesel Weiser is a 99-year old gymnastics instructor who has been teaching fitness for the last 77 years. Formerly a ballet dancer, Liesel now continues to teach fitness and ballet to fellow residents at a retirement community in a small Israeli town called Bat Yam.
Liesel is actually the grandmother of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who is famous for having played the characters of Borat, Bruno, and The Dictator.
Here’s a YouTube video of Liesel as she demonstrates an exercise sequence that you can simply perform using a chair and a stick.
Harriette Thompson, a 91-year old marathoner
Harriet Thompson beat the record for the fastest running time for a woman over 90 years old after finishing in 7 hours, 7 minutes, and 42 seconds, where she ran for 26.2 miles at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in June 2014.
Thompson has also shown her competitive nature in her fight against skin cancer. A cancer survivor, Harriett underwent through 9 radiation treatments for skin cancer in just 11 days, and with her last treatment being done just a month prior to the race.
In preparation for every marathon in which she competes, Thompson exercises on an elliptical machine as well as participates in yoga and stretching classes.
A former concert pianist, Thompson started her first marathon when she was 76 years old and she has done so ever year to help raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training where she has already helped generate over $90,000.
Edythe Kirchmaier, the oldest Facebook user at 106
Edythe Kirchmaier recently celebrated her 106th birthday in January 2015. Shortly after her birthday, she contacted the Facebook team because her age wasn’t available to be presented on her profile. Facebook quickly got in contact with Edythe and changed the system to incorporate her age. Now, having almost 60,000 Facebook followers, Edyth is the confirmed oldest Facebook user.
Edythe narrated how her children gave her a computer, a digital camera, and a printer when she was 95 years old. When she turned 105, she joined Facebook. That same year she also got her driver’s license renewed (now being the oldest registered driver in California).
Edythe is also an active volunteer at Direct Relief International where she has been serving for 40 years now. Direct Relief International is a nonprofit organization that serves people and communities affected by disaster, poverty, and civil unrest.
View her Facebook page and follow her too!
Frances Woofenden, 84-year old water skiing champion
If there’s any 84-year old woman who can impeccably glide on water, that’s Frances Woofenden!
A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Frances began skiing at 50 years old when her husband bought her a boa when she revealed her interest in skiing.
Her love for skiing is evident as she now practices the sport five times a week. Having hailed as the #1 water skiing champion in her age group, Frances has earned over 100 medals.
Her secret for her great physique? Diet and exercise. Also, you may recognize Francis from television — she was featured in a commercial for V8!
Check out this video of Frances showing off her skills.
Nola Ochs, a 98-year old Master’s Degree earner
Nola Ochs finished her college degree when she was 95 years old. Then she became a Guinness World Record holder for the world’s oldest college graduate when she received her diploma at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Earning a general studies degree with an emphasis on history, Nola graduated along with her granddaughter.
Nola initially attended college at the Dodge City Community College back in 1972, but she wasn’t able to complete her degree. Several years later when she discovered she was only 30 hours short of earning a Bachelor’s, she decided to finally finish her studies in 2007.
Nola didn’t just stop at that. Three years later, Nola earned her Master’s degree in Liberal Studies at the age of 98, setting another world record.
In 2011, Nola celebrated her 100th birthday and is now working on a genealogy project as well as taking her time to write a book, a retelling of her great life experiences. We look forward to hearing more out of Nola’s work in the future.
Paddy Jones, a 79 year-old ballroom dancer
Seriously, you’re never too old or too young to get on the dance floor. 79 year-old, Paddy Jones, is proof of that fact.
When Paddy walked on stage along with partner, Nico, to audition for Britain’s Got Talent, they started off with a slow paced routine that the judges ultimately found unimpressive. Just before Simon Cowell hit the buzzer to dismiss them, the music changed tempo and the dynamic duo showed everyone how salsa should really be done. By the end of the show, the crowd was wow’d and the judges were shocked. Paddy and Nico went on to place 9th overall in the competition.
Paddy currently holds the Guinness World Record for the “Oldest Acrobatic Salsa Dancer.”
Check out the video of Paddy and Nico’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent.
Toyo Shibata, a 101-Year Old Poet
At 98 years old, Toyo Shibata sold 1.58 million copies of her poetry book Don’t Lose Heart. What makes this more incredible is Shibata had only started writing poetry six years prior when she was unable to continue her hobby of classical Japanese dance. Through the encouragement of her son, she began pursuing her hobby of writing, and as of 2014 is considered one of our more famous poets. She died in January 2013 at the age of 101. Her book of poetry can be found in retail stores as well as on Amazon, and it is well worth a read.
What do these amazing seniors have in common? They followed their passions. So you see, age isn’t a limit, it is merely a number. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Do what you love best, and you’d be surprised how quickly you will inspire others as well.
What did you think about our list? Do you have any personal stories of triumph for us?Share your passions and comments with us!