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101-Year-Old Swimmer Shows Ages Is Just a Number

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Imagine shattering world records once you’ve passed the century mark. For 101-year-old Mieko Nagaoka of Japan, efforts like this seem to come naturally. Known for eating what she wants and sleeping when she feels like it, the spirited centenarian is showing no signs of slowing down while also providing inspiration to countless other seniors looking to remain as active as possible. Here, Home Care Assistance of Sonoma County shines a spotlight on this magnificent centenarian athlete.

Fierce Determination to Succeed

Mieko, who didn’t take up swimming until she was well into her eighties, has a strong will that has kept her active and healthy. It’s this determination that helped her set a world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle and eight other events within her age group.

Defying the Odds

Aging brings several challenges, including the increased prevalence of back pain and inflammation-based conditions like arthritis. It’s already known that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and discomfort from age-related degeneration of spinal discs. Mieko continues to train three times a week with a coach to maintain optimum physical health.

Improving Mental Alertness

“Mentally she’s still very sharp,” Mieko’s son observes. A recent University of Miami study suggests regular exercise may keep the brain a decade younger, which could be one reason Meiko’s mental faculties are still very much intact.

More Centenarian Athletes

Mieko joins a growing list of older athletes, including 104-year-old French cyclist Robert Marchand who was named the world’s greatest centenarian athlete. She may not be doing a hundred pushups a day like 101-year-old Michigan native Fred Winter, but she cites a sense of joy and purpose as her motivation.

Even though she lagged far behind of the winner in a recent competition, Mieko plans to remain active for the rest of her life. “Swimming makes me happy,” she proudly declares, stressing the importance of embracing activities that aren’t only physically beneficial for seniors, but also mentally stimulating.

Some seniors have a hard time maintaining an exercise regimen, whether it’s a lack of transportation to the local pool or mobility support during exercise. Our friendly caregivers in Sonoma County can help. Each one is expertly trained to assist with the activities of daily living and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Learn more by calling (707) 843.4368 and speaking with a dedicated Care Manager today.