When we think of women over the age of 70, it's almost a given that the majority of our thoughts drift to a sweet, frail, salt-and-pepper-haired granny. But these seven inspiring women are anything but that. They are true athletes— some even world-record holders. And their age-defying acts are a constant reminder that age really is just a number.
So, if you’ve been having trouble committing to your fitness routine lately, you really need to check out these women. They're just the dose of fitspiration you need to get back on track.
Madonna Buder, 84 (above)
Known as the 'Iron Nun,' Buder, a member of the noncanonical Sisters for Christian Community, is the oldest woman ever to finish an Ironman triathlon. (That's a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and topped off with a 26.2 mile run!) Even more impressive, the 2013 USA Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee estimates that she’s completed roughly 360 triathlons, according to the Huffington Post.
Edith Connor, 79
Did you know that only about 20% of American women get in their recommended two strength-training sessions per week? Luckily for Connor, she is in the minority on this one: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she holds the title for the Oldest Female Competitive Bodybuilder as of 2012. And Connor—a mother of three, grandmother of seven, and great grandmother of six—hits the gym three times a week to keep her body competition-ready, according to Reuters.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, 96
As we age, flexibility is a trait that usually tends to give. Let’s face it, most of us can’t even touch our toes. Then there’s Porchon-Lynch whose ability to get bendy puts athletes 70 years her junior to shame. The founder of the Westchester Institute of Yoga, who didn’t even get into the practice until age 73, is also a Guinness Book record holder; she’s cited as the world’s oldest yoga teacher.
Harriette Thompson, 91
As a marathoner, Thompson is already in a pretty exclusive club: Less than 1% of the U.S. population has run the hallowed 26.2-mile distance. The fact that she's 91 and finished June's Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 7:07:42, capturing the record for the fastest time run by a woman 90 or older is just icing on the cake. Did we mention that she completed this feat despite the fact that she recently finished up radiation treatment to treat squamous cell carcinoma on her legs?
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Jackie Stallone, 92
Clearly Sylvester Stallone gets his athletic prowess from his mother. The astrologer was recently spotted at a Los Angeles CrossFit box taking on everything from the erg (indoor rower) to back squats to kettlebell swings. But CrossFit isn’t the former dancer’s only way of staying active. She’s also been spotted taking dance classes at the Pretenders Studio in Santa Monica.
Phyllis Sues, 91
You’d think that by this age, a person would have checked off any daring to-dos from their bucket list, but it seems like Sues is just starting. A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, she recently took up skydiving. And when she’s not jumping out of planes, you can find her showing off her fancy footwork as a competitive Tango dancer.
Lucille Singleton, 91
Singleton has been quoted as saying that her doctor told her she has the heart of a 25-year-old. Her secret? She’s a regular runner and gym goer. And she’s not letting anything stop her—not weekly dialysis treatments or knee replacement surgery. A 34-year member of the New York Road Runners club, she’s run the New York City Marathon three times, and has also placed in the top 10 in her age group each time. Oh, and she ran her first marathon at the tender age of 75.
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