95-year-old Olga Kotelko's best anti-aging secrets

When it comes to beating the clock, this track star is a living inspiration. She chatted with our very own Alanna Glassman about how she stays so spry.


Photo, Patrik Giardino.

1. Age gracefully
“One day I decided I wanted to be a young-at-heart athlete rather than an old woman. I thought, ‘Hey, I am going to stay athletic. I’m not going to end up in a rocking chair.’ Now my goal is to live to be 120. I’ve learned when you truly embrace the aging process, you feel stronger and more confident, and you start to age gracefully.”

2. Make friends of all ages
“I seek out opportunities like bowling, making perogies at the community hall and going to restaurants and movies, because it’s important to spend time with people, regardless of age.”

3. Show your competitive side
“Never stop pushing yourself. I love to win. Just look at me: I made world records, and then I broke them, and then I broke them again. I stopped counting my gold medals at around 750, when I was 92, but I’ll never stop competing.”

4. Stay sporty
“Use it, or lose it. That’s my motto. Find something you love to do, and do it. Don’t be afraid to try new things either. The freedom of moving your body is a beautiful thing. I played softball when I was 70 until I was 75. Then I decided to take up track. And I’m still running today. You’re never too old to exercise.”

5. Breathe deeply
“I believe in deep breathing and do it every day and before the start of any race. When you fill your lungs with fresh air, all that oxygen feeds every cell in your body.”

6. Work hard. Rest. Repeat.
“Take care of your body. Work hard. Rest. Do it all over again. Eat in moderation. I eat four to five small meals a day, drink water, love pickled herring and enjoy a beer every so often (especially in the summer when I garden). I don’t deny myself, but I don’t overindulge.”

7. Be positive (no matter what)
“Of all my secrets to good health, I think one should be optimistic. Every day I try to wake up with a smile. If I get mad or upset, I try to move on quickly. I’ve got more important things to do!”

8. Elevate your feet
“I love to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, and when I do I elevate my feet at 45 degrees for an hour. I think it improves circulation.”

9. Try a spoonful of Kick-a-Pooh juice
“I’m writing a book about my life, called Olga. It has lots of recipes. One of my favourites is Kick-a-Pooh Juice. It’s simple: Purée three whole lemons, three heads of garlic and three cups of water. Bring to a boil, but not for long. Store it in the fridge. I have two tablespoons a day, sweetened to taste with honey. Delicious.”

10. Get rid of “the junk”
“Don’t give up. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t say, ‘I’m too old.’ Don’t say, ‘Not today.’ Get rid of the junk that’s holding you back. Never stop persevering. I know I tell myself that I don’t have any reason to stop, and I certainly don’t want to stop. I won’t stop until I drop, I guess!”

For an excerpt from a new book about Olga’s life, click here.

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