Most 90-year-olds can barely run, let alone exercise, but 90-year-old Takishima Mika not only religiously conducts the daily fitness programs, but even works as a fitness trainer in a gym.
For most of us, “age is just a number” is just a tired cliché, but people like Takishima Mika, aka “Takimika”, are proof that it doesn’t have to be that way. The sprightly pensioner, who turned 90 on January 15, is more active than most 20-year-olds and probably also fitter. She is Japan’s oldest fitness trainer and has become a minor celebrity in the Asian country because of her excellent physical condition, positive attitude and infectious smile. But Takimika wasn’t always like that. In fact, her transformation started late in life, when she was over 60.
Photo: YouTube screenshot
There was a time when Takishima Mika was so clumsy herself and had no interest in any kind of movement. But a chance comment from her husband about her weight when she was 65 changed everything. As a full-time housewife, Takimika had never considered going to the gym, but her husband’s comment made her do just that, and she got the fitness bug almost immediately.
“Back then I was more than a little plump – my pants were twice the size they are today,” Mika told Nippon Magazine. “Yet I stubbornly refused to admit that I was overweight. However, one day my husband made a comment about my weight and I decided to go to a gym. “
Although she achieved her original goal of losing 15 kilograms after about five years, Takimika continued training as her newfound love of fitness helped her face new challenges.
“I only got into fitness because I wanted to lose weight. However, once I did that, I decided to have nice tight buttocks like a Brazilian woman. When I got there, I decided to have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. The next thing I knew I was teaching aerobics classes. I never dreamed that my life would be like this, ”she said.
Believe it or not, Takimika didn’t become a fitness trainer until she was 87, after being half-forced to do so by her own trainer. When Nakasawa Tomoharu, Takishima’s trainer and owner of the Power Aging Gym, saw her positive attitude towards the gym and her passion for exercising, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. She had hit the gym at the age of 79 and had grown into a complete athlete in the eight years since then.
“Every inch of Takishima’s body exudes a love of training. She is also a great speaker. The more I worked with her, the more I found it wasted just coming here as a student, so I half-forced her to take on the role of fitness trainer. Takishima initially struggled, but their performances exceeded our expectations, ”said Nakasawa.
Although Takimika was only able to hold her fitness classes at the gym once a week because of the Covid-19 pandemic, she made sure that she stayed in shape by sticking to her usual exercise plan and diet. At this point, she no longer even considers it a sport, but rather second nature.
The 90-year-old usually goes to sleep around 11 p.m. and wakes up at 3 a.m. and only needs four hours of sleep. Then she goes for a 4-kilometer walk, followed by a 3-kilometer jog and a 1-kilometer backward walk. Then she has a hearty and balanced breakfast, then does housework and light stretching exercises and maybe watches TV, not forgetting to keep her back straight and tummy tuck.
The ninety-year-old always eats light lunches as overeating tends to make her sleepy, followed by an intense exercise session. In the evening there is a hearty dinner paired with a glass of wine. Until bedtime, Takimika practices the fitness exercises assigned by her own trainer, practices on the computer and improves her English skills.
The story of Takishima Mika touched many elderly people in Japan, over 80,000 of whom are centenarians, and some have been inspired to do fitness to improve their health and general wellbeing. Japan’s oldest fitness trainer has set herself two new goals – to make everyone fit and healthy and to still be a fitness trainer at the age of one hundred.