Be Inspired by Japan's 91 Year Old Fitness Instructor

4 Minute Read

© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

Close to a month into the new year, I’m wondering how we’re all tracking on new year resolutions.

Fitness must be in the list and if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration, go no further than Takishima Mika, Japan’s oldest fitness instructor[1].

This month Takishima, more commonly known under the celebrity name “Takimika”, turned 91 years of age.


It all started at 65 years of age

What is astonishing is that Takimika was bitten by the fitness bug at the late age of 65 years after a wry comment from her husband about her expansive waistline. Prior to that she had never set foot in a gym or fitness class of any nature.

She admitted that her husband’s comment was true. A mother and homemaker for most of her life, once the children had left home too much time was being spent watching television and eating rice cakes.

Last year, I shared with you the mobility issues that can arise from growing waistlines. Takimika was embarrassed to say she was finding it difficult to clean her bath.

So at 65, Takimika joined a Tokyo gym.


Bitten by the fitness bug

Initially, Takimika found it hard to keep up with others in the group class. So she positioned herself at the back to watch and learn how others moved their bodies and moved at her own pace. She loved the gym environment, describing it as “so much fun”.

By her 70th birthday she had lost 15 kilograms. She then decided to add swimming to her regime so she learnt how to swim.

On turning 79, she engaged a personal trainer at her gym for one-on-one classes. When her trainer asked if she’d fill in for him to take a fitness class, she became a fitness instructor. She was 87 at the time.

Prior to COVID-19, Takimika was giving classes at Tokyo gyms and nursing homes. She also conducted a tour of the 47 prefectures of Japan to inspire their elderly residents to take up fitness. Since the pandemic, she has been hosting a monthly online fitness class.


The regime

Now Takimika’s regime may not be for everyone. Her fitness bug involves around five hours of training a day starting with a 4 am walk (4 kms), jog (3 kms), and one kilometre of walking backwards. This takes around two hours and does not take place on rainy days. The morning session is followed by some stretching and, after lunch, by three hours of further stretching or weight training or class instruction in the afternoon.


What are Takimika’s fitness regime tips?

  • “Age is just a number.” Takimika commences each class with that statement.
  • “Setting detailed goals and making the effort is the key to making exercise routines a habit.” Once she lost 15 kg, Takimika set the goal of having “a nice tight bottom like a Brazilian woman”. When that was achieved she focussed on having “broad shoulders and a narrow waist”, and the list goes on.
  • “Don’t push too hard but don’t give up.”
  • Stay focused. Takimika prefers to do her stretching and exercises without music so that she can focus on what she is doing.
  • “With food, follow your instincts and do not deprive yourself.” She enjoys a well-balanced and large breakfast, a light lunch to avoid sleepiness, and a hearty dinner with a glass of wine. She avoids food containing additives and preservatives.


If you’d like to join Takimika for a class, try this free 20-minute sub-titled stretch routine.


Needing any further inspiration? Did I tell you that at 90, she started teaching herself English?


If you need support and guidance on improving the mobility of your elderly loved one or seek care assistance for them, please feel free to contact me, Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions.

Let’s have an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.

- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation



[1] Takimika, The 90-Year-Old Fitness Instructor


Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!