Skip to main content

Staying young

Star Trek’s ageless hero

William Shatner in Star Trek. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

William Shatner is 90, but looks 60 and pretends he’s 55, says Hadley Freeman in The Guardian. “What you know at 90 is: take it easy, nothing matters in the end,” he says. “What goes up must come down” –although, if “I’d known that at 20, I wouldn’t have done anything”. There is a website dedicated to Shatner’s toupee, but his youthful appearance goes much further than impressive hair. Has he had some serious work done? “No. Have you?” he shoots back.

The star of the original Star Trek (“I am Captain Kirk”) credits his bounciness to the fact that he competes in “very athletic and cowboyish” horseback sports, including reining, a Wild West version of dressage. Last month Shatner swam with “18ft tiger sharks” in the Bahamas, filming for the Discovery Channel. And a tech company is offering to “recreate him as a 3D talking hologram”, so he might outlast us all. “It could be on my gravestone and people can ask it questions,” he smiles.

Japan’s cheerleading oldies

Elderly Cheersleaders
Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

“Pompoms rustle and silver shoes flash as Japan Pom Pom practises,” says Elaine Lies on Reuters. But this is no ordinary cheerleading group – its members are aged between 60 and 89. Founded 26 years ago, it’s now a model for active seniors, but this wasn’t always the case. Japan may be one of the world’s most rapidly ageing populations, but it still has “fixed notions about senior life”.

“We went to a senior citizens’ club and they really didn’t like us,” recalls Fumie Takino, the squad’s 89-year-old founder, whose mantra is: “If you’re interested in something, forget about your age.” Takino certainly practises what she preaches. After trying scuba-diving, parasailing, skydiving and the ukulele, she is now learning Spanish.

Most squad members say cheerleading boosts their mood; some simply love putting on the fabulous costumes. Takino, who will be 90 this year, reluctantly confesses that she won’t be cheering at 100: “The last three or four years I’ve started to feel tired a lot more easily, then having to be at home because of the pandemic really meant my stamina fell.” Still, she’s not hanging up her pompoms just yet. “Moving your body is nice,” she says. “I forget everything while I’m dancing”.