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What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives

by

What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives Cover

ISBN13: 9780805097207
ISBN10: 0805097201
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A fascinating look at the way we age today and the extent to which we can shape the process

In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson explores what the wild success of a ninety-four-year-old track star can tell us about how our bodies and minds age. Olga Kotelko is not your average ninety-four-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, she holds over twenty-three world records in track and field, seventeen in her current ninety to ninety-five category. Convinced that this remarkable woman could help unlock many of the mysteries of aging, Grierson set out to uncover what it is thats driving Olga. He considers every piece of the puzzle, from her diet and sleep habits to how she scores on various personality traits, from what she does in her spare time to her family history. Olga participates in tests administered by some of the worlds leading scientists and offers her DNA to groundbreaking research trials. What emerges is not only a tremendously uplifting personal story but a look at the extent to which our health and longevity are determined by the DNA we inherit at birth, and the extent to which we can shape that inheritance. It examines the sum of our genes, opportunities, and choices, and the factors that forge the course of any life, especially during our golden years.

Review:

"Olga Kotelko took up track and field at age 77. Today, she holds 26 world records, setting most of them in 2009, the year she turned 90. Over a four-year period, journalist Grierson (U-Turn) accompanied Olga to meets and practices as well as to appointments with physiologists, geneticists, trainers, and others as they studied Olga's extraordinary achievements. Analyzing everything from Olga's life history, diet and daily routine, to her genetic makeup, brain, personality, bone density, aerobic capacity, muscles, sleep patterns, memory, and more, they found that although Olga is an outlier, there could be more people like her given the right circumstances. As Grierson explains, studies show how older athletes benefit from having started their sport later in life without the accumulated damage from early overexertion, and highlights conditions that worked in Olga's favor — her active childhood on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, the way she has always integrated movement into her everyday life, and her intuition about her body. The middle-aged, fairly sedentary Grierson compares his exercise routines and his DNA to Olga's, portraying their growing friendship as he describes the mysteries of longevity and extols the benefits of exercise. Grierson's fellow boomers have much to learn from Olga's example, given that scientists now think that longevity is 70% — 75% lifestyle and only 25% genetic. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Bruce Grierson is the author of the books Culture Jam and U-Turn. He has been a freelance writer for twenty-five years. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Psychology Today, among other publications. He lives in North Vancouver, Canada.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Tung, April 3, 2014 (view all comments by Tung)
I tend to put running books in two categories: those about how to run faster/better, and those about runners. This is in the latter category, so reading it is not likely to make you run faster or better (unless, of course, you aren't running at all right now but get inspired to start).

The main character in the book is Olga Kotelko, an international track star based on her incredible age-based records in a whole host of track events ranging from sprinting to high jumping to javelin throwing. She's doing this at 92 years old!

So, a good deal of the book is about how she got into track at an advanced age (70+), what her training is like, and what scientists and doctors have learned about her from her voluntary cooperation with their research. Another part of the book is about author Bruce Grierson's developing friendship with Olga, and in the most self-critical parts, comparing his own relatively bad state of fitness to Olga's. Along the way, Grierson provides a lot of exposition about the current state of research about fitness and longevity. It concludes with a set of guidelines for living better; while readers are unlikely to be as dominant in the age 90-94 bracket as Olga is, the guidelines are workable.

I enjoyed the book. As a protagonist, Olga is not the most interesting person, but as a study in what is possible at such an age, and what tangible benefits result from such activity, she's pretty fascinating.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805097207
Author:
Grierson, Bruce
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Anatomy and Physiology
Subject:
Gerontology
Subject:
Healthy Living
Subject:
Sports
Subject:
Biography-Sports
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » Sports
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Aging
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Sociology » Aging

What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives New Hardcover
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$25.00 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805097207 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Olga Kotelko took up track and field at age 77. Today, she holds 26 world records, setting most of them in 2009, the year she turned 90. Over a four-year period, journalist Grierson (U-Turn) accompanied Olga to meets and practices as well as to appointments with physiologists, geneticists, trainers, and others as they studied Olga's extraordinary achievements. Analyzing everything from Olga's life history, diet and daily routine, to her genetic makeup, brain, personality, bone density, aerobic capacity, muscles, sleep patterns, memory, and more, they found that although Olga is an outlier, there could be more people like her given the right circumstances. As Grierson explains, studies show how older athletes benefit from having started their sport later in life without the accumulated damage from early overexertion, and highlights conditions that worked in Olga's favor — her active childhood on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, the way she has always integrated movement into her everyday life, and her intuition about her body. The middle-aged, fairly sedentary Grierson compares his exercise routines and his DNA to Olga's, portraying their growing friendship as he describes the mysteries of longevity and extols the benefits of exercise. Grierson's fellow boomers have much to learn from Olga's example, given that scientists now think that longevity is 70% — 75% lifestyle and only 25% genetic. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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