102-year-old swimming instructor: No matter which doctor you ask, they will say that physical activity later in life can help prevent or delay many health problems. That’s why they advise 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 2 days a week of muscle strengthening. Peggy Konzack, a 102-year-old woman from Oregon, seems to have fully realized this reality. Her life should be an inspiration to all of us who keep making excuses when it comes to physical activity.
Peggy has been teaching swimming for more than half a century. Her career as a swimming instructor started very unexpectedly when, decades ago, she was swimming at the YMCA in her area. A friend of hers asked her to take her infant for a swimming lesson, and Peggy accepted without any hesitation.
From that day on, she never stopped going into the water with kids ranging from 6 months to 3 years old. “It’s just a joy in my life. I’m playing with them. I’m not working; I’m playing.”
A grateful mother reveals some of Peggy’s tricks. Jennifer Reid takes her daughter, who is deaf, to Peggy for swimming lessons, and she is amazed by the impact she’s had on her child. “Peggy’s really great because she integrates a lot of gestures and simple signs. Getting one-on-one support has made all the difference.”
Not only that but at the end of each lesson, Peggy does the hokey pokey dance with her students, making everyone feel even more ecstatic. This is how she has managed to create an impact on every little kid that goes to her lessons.
Peggy leads a very active life, and working gives meaning to her life. “I’m inspired to get up in the mornings, get ready. And I still drive my car and come to the Y and spend the morning. What else can I do that is more rewarding?” Peggy sometimes says that it’s time to retire, but she never actually does it since her students unite to make her stay put. They just know that nobody can replace her and the deep bonds she creates with each and every kid.
But Peggy isn’t only active when it comes to teaching. On the days that she is not instructing her kids, she swims 10–12 laps in the swimming pool. She believes that staying active and maintaining a clean diet have allowed her to live that long.
Why some elderly people don’t want to retire.
While most people are looking forward to retiring when the time comes, there are some elderly individuals who keep on working. Sometimes it’s because they need the extra income, but in many cases, it’s because they simply love the work and want to stay active. For example, a man in his 80s had no wish to retire until his health made it impossible for him to work. “It has to be a challenge, and it has to be meaningful. Otherwise, it isn’t worth it.”
And sometimes, even employers prefer to have older people working for them. “We know that older people are more likely to make the right decision when presented with information. They are more likely to have emotional intelligence. And at work, teams that have people of varying ages tend to be particularly productive.”
Age should never be the reason someone stops living life to its fullest, and women who obtain their degrees, get married, and dress however they want should be inspirations to all of us.