The Olympics are nigh! That’s right my friends, only a few days until we get to watch the world’s best athletes perform against each other in awe inspiring feats. I’m a pretty noncompetitive person myself, so the Olympic games don’t mean much to me in that sense (though, I guess you could say I might be partial to our U.S. teams). However, I love watching the Olympics purely to witness the pique of physical fitness that these athletes exhibit. Athletes who (with a little help from their genes) have worked rigorously day after day for years to get where they are. It is, as I said before, inspiring.
Now, I’m not saying everyone should quit their jobs and become an Olympic athlete, because that’s pretty unrealistic. Well, unless that’s something you really really really want to do, in which case: GO FOR IT! No, what I’m really saying is that this is a pretty good opportunity to be inspired to live a fitter, healthier, and happier lifestyle. Who knows where it could take you?
Case in point is 86 year old German gymnast, Johanna Quaas. A retired sports teacher, Quaas decided to take up gymnastics “just for fun” and competes in senior citizen competitions. Here are some YouTube clips of her routines on the parallel bars and on the floor taken at the Cottbus World Cup in Brandenburg, Germany. Impressive? You be the judge:
Okay, if you are not completely blown away by Quaas’ physical abilities, then I don’t know what to tell you. I mean, she’s 80-bleepin’-6!!! Most 86 year olds I know don’t have the strength or coordination to balance on one foot, let alone do the handstands and tumbles that Quaas’ does (seemingly effortlessly, I might add).
Johanna Quaas may not be an Olympian, but she is clearly someone who has always been active and healthy-minded. This lifestyle has allowed her to retain the mobility and resilience of someone much younger than her, and THAT is what wellness is all about. I know that for some people, physical fitness is just about having a super hot body. But for me, it’s about aging gracefully (and happily!) without illness and injury barring the way. So, thank you Johanna Quaas, for showing us what kind of quality of life we can hope to have if we treat our bodies right and remain active.