From the moment we are born, we begin to die. This is a sad truth that all humans come to deal with. But Olga Kotelko, a ninety-four year-old woman shows that life is so much more than fearing death and aging. But what makes her body and mind defy her actual age? Through a series of tests, author Bruce Grierson attempts to find out. Perhaps Olga’s most powerful weapon against aging is not her active lifestyle or genetics but her positive outlook on life.
Olga has led an interesting life. Her diet is not that unusual, although she eats very close to what we would today call a Paleo/Primal diet. She competes in track and field events, holding numerous world records. She has traveled the world. Olga enjoys the company of others, is compassionate, lives simply, and doesn’t worry about what she can’t control.
Her mind and body are sharp for a woman of her age. Grierson and studies suggest that a mentally and physically active lifestyle is key to aging well. While genetics plays a role, the author suggests that it is a minor one compared with lifestyle. Olga competes in rigorous sporting events that tax her body, but she also keeps active during the rest of the day by walking and constantly moving.
Indeed, if there is a secret to her success, this simple but powerful characteristic may hold the key for the rest of us.
Personality, outlook, and attitude as powerful anti-aging agents
Of all of Olga’s characteristics that Grierson examines, perhaps most interesting is her attitude on life. She doesn’t worry about what she can’t control, she visualizes success, she enjoys competition, and has a general ‘live and let live’ attitude. Grierson presents studies that show how mental outlook guides physical responses – unleashing a cascade of healthy hormones in our brains and bodies.
Is it possible that by adopting this type of attitude a person could slow down the aging process? Could a simple attitude of positivity be such a powerful anti-aging agent? Of course, more studies need to be conducted to confirm this suspicion, but there is ample anecdotal evidence that suggests a healthy and positive mental outlook can increase overall wellness. After all, Olga seems to have benefitted.
Fishing out the secret
The truth is that there are too many variables in Olga’s life that make it difficult for scientists to pin down one as the secret to healthy longevity. But What Makes Olga Run? is an interesting read. Grierson does a great job of introducing Olga, making you care about her life’s story, and then delving into the work of trying to determine her age defying secret. From teaching others how to make pierogies to reading about her struggling with a simulation that stresses her response to cars in traffic, this is a heart-warming tale of a gentle woman who has refused to live life without passion.
Whether Olga’s health is a result of genetics, lifestyle, luck, or a combination of them all, her story is one that should inspire and motivate all of us to live life with passion, without regret, and with an open heart.
‘What Makes Olga Run?’ — Bruce Grierson