90-Year Old “Takimika” is Badass!

…And with an infectious smile that begs you to say, “just tell me what to do, ma’am!”

She didn’t even start training until the age of 65—25 years ago—and became a personal fitness instructor at 87. Hahahaha, how joyous to get to laugh while at the same time, realizing that no matter how good at life you get, there’ll always be someone to shame you—well, perhaps except for her. She’s potentially the most quintessentially shameless human on the planet.

Born January 15, 1931. That would have made her 10 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and touched off a war with the United States. Funny enough, by the time I left Japan in 1989 after 5 years, She was 58—7 years away from her husband’s idle comment about her weight creep that began this mission accomplished.

It’s still dark when 90-year-old Mika Takishima gets up at 3:00 am for the first of her two daily workouts. Every day it’s not raining, she walks 4-km, followed by a 3-km jog, and finally walks backwards for 1-km. In the afternoon she’s in the gym for 2-hours, stretching and lifting weights. In order to concentrate on the exercises, she does not listen to music while she trains—hardcore!

Mika was a 65-year-old housewife who had never exercised until one day her husband made some offhand comment about her weight. With that, she joined a gym with the goal of losing weight. After she lost 15-kg (over 30-pounds) in 5-years (“…my trouser size was twice what it is now”), she continued to work out. At 79, Mika hired a personal trainer to help her work on toning her core, and after that she decided she wanted to build “a nice tight bottom like a Brazilian woman.” Then she decided she wanted broad shoulders and a narrow waist. One day her instructor, Tomoharu Nakasawa, offered her a job as an instructor at his Power Aging Gym. “The next thing I knew,” she says, “I was teaching aerobics classes. I never dreamed my life would turn out like this. You are never too old to start anything.” Mika’s enthusiasm is so infectious that she reminds you of the kind of motivation that Jack LaLanne used to project.

When it comes to diet, Mika believes in following her instincts. She eats three balanced meals a day and eats as much as she wants of what she likes (“…if I feel like cake, I have cake”), but avoids artificial additives and preservatives. For breakfast it’s usually grilled mackerel or salmon with natto (fermented bean curd that most westerners can’t stomach), eggs, tofu, kimchi, and nukazuke pickles. All she has for lunch is a banana and a probiotic Yakult drink (“I get sleepy if I overeat at lunch”). Her dinner begins with a glass of wine, followed by homemade chicken and vegetable soup made with Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, konnyaku, and onion.

In her spare time she works on improving her computer skills and takes English classes. She says she wants to make as many friends as she can from all over the world. One day she received a message from a woman who once wished she was dead, but was inspired by one of Mika’s videos to change her attitude to be healthy and happy like Mika Takishima.

Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with over 80,000 people over 100-years of age. That message helped Mika realize that she was in a position to help improve the quality of life of Japan’s large elderly population.

“When I realized that what I was doing might help to reduce the number of recluses and old folk who die alone,” Mika said, “I made it my goal to tour all 47 Japanese prefectures and put on training demonstrations. If my demonstrations inspire people, they will be motivated to get into fitness on their own. My goal is to get everyone fit and healthy and still be a fitness instructor myself when I’m a hundred years old.”

Via Facebook

What I find to take particular note of is her impressive musculature for that age. Look at those guns! Pretty flexible, too—both well established markers for healthy longevity.

And if that’s not inspiring enough, here’s some charming videos.


Alright, all lame excuses are hereby superseded. It’s one thing to live long, quite another to do it at this level of vibrancy.

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  1. Resurgent on April 30, 2021 at 10:24

    Wooww..!! If that does not inspire..
    Nothing ever will..

  2. WK Lee on April 30, 2021 at 15:35

    This lady is deceased in 2020 and until her death at 101 years old, she was the world’s oldest certified yoga teacher at 100 years old and walked with Mohandas Gandhi Martin Luther King Jr. Amazing life she lived.


  3. Alec on May 12, 2021 at 05:26

    That’s an awesome attitude and great discipline. What’s very good about this story, is how Takima insists on continuing to enjoy her life, with good food and wine. Just cutting out the processed ingredients and boxed foods is the biggest step to better health.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 12, 2021 at 05:59


      See this last post.


      Compare my appearance in Poland to the selfie now.

      This has motivated me recently to get a bit more nuanced. Recently encountered a guy in a comment thread on Facebook who looked fabulous 2 years ago, now 20 kilo up, feels awful. Covid and loss of a good job.

      Anybody can pure will their way to better health and fitness, but unless you get your living environment squared away, then you only have the discipline and there’s nothing else.

      I have seen this so clearly in the last 18 months. Get your lifestyle to generally happy and it makes health, fitness, and respectable appearance a lot easier.

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