Living a long life is always nice, but living a long life your own way is much more fulfilling. These world-record holders are all the oldest people to do something incredible, whether that means becoming parents, tying the knot, sticking with their profession, or just defying the odds.
10. Oldest Woman to Give Birth
When it comes to the oldest woman to bring life into this world, there are actually three different contenders, all of which have a fair claim. The Guinness Book of Records title is held by Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara, who gave birth to twins via caesarian section just one week short of her 67th birthday. Maria, who was single at the time, was able to get clearance for the in vitro fertilization treatments only by lying and saying she was only 55. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer only a few years later and died in 2006, before the twins turned three.
The woman many believe to be the oldest woman to give birth is Daljinder Kaur, who is believed to have been 70 when she gave birth in 2016. The reason we say “believed” is because like many residents of India over 50, Dalinder does not have a birth certificate and is unsure of her own age. In fact, the clinic that helped Dalinder and her husband with their in vitro fertilization treatments believes she was actually 72 when she gave birth.
If you question the ethics of women using fertility treatments to become pregnant in their senior years, then you might instead be interested in learning about the oldest women to give birth naturally, without such treatments. That honor belongs to UK resident Dawn Brooke, who gave birth at 59 years of age. She and her husband were not trying to get pregnant and were actually shocked when they found out the big news.
9. Oldest Man to Become a Father
Like the title for oldest woman to give birth, this record is complicated by the fact that India didn’t start regularly issuing birth certificates until the late 1960s. If he is correct in his age, which remains undocumented, then the world’s oldest father would be Ramajit Raghav, who became a father for the first time at 94. Ramajit and his wife, who is believed to be in her fifties, had a second child just two years later when Ramajit was 96. Unfortunately, the couple’s first son went missing shortly after and the couple separated shortly after.
The Guinness World Record holder for oldest man to father a child was Australian Les Colley, who had documented proof that he was 92 years old at the time. The child was Les’ ninth, but his first child with the boy’s mother, who met Les through a dating agency when he was 90. Unfortunately, Les died at the age of 100, when the boy was only eight years old.
8. Oldest Competitive Bodybuilder
Ernestine Shepherd didn’t start working out at all until she was 56 and her sister convinced her to join a gym, promising Ernestine “we are going to become bodybuilders.” Unfortunately, Ernestine’s sister died two years later and Ernestine stopped working out as a result. “I really wouldn’t do anything, I was complete mess,” Shepherd says. “I did absolutely, positively nothing.”
Two years after that, Ernestine saw her sister in a dream, encouraging her to hit the gym once more. At the age of 71, she entered her first bodybuilding event and earned not only a Guinness title for oldest competitive body builder, but also placed first in the competition beating women no more than half her age. Since then, she’s won numerous trophies and titles. At the age of 81, she starts every day with a 10 mile run and continues to do strength training four days a week.
7. Oldest Living Married Couple
If Karam and Katari Chand offer you marriage advice, you’d probably want to take it. That’s because this couple holds the title not only for the world’s longest marriage, but also the world’s oldest married couple. The pair was wed in India on December 11, 1925 -meaning if all goes well, they’ll celebrate their 91st wedding anniversary in a few months. The pair is currently 110 and 103, respectively, meaning they’ve lived a combined 213 years.
If you’re wondering what their secret is, the couple agrees that the cornerstone to a good marriage is to not argue and not keep secrets from one another.
6. Oldest Newlyweds
In November 2015, George and Doreen Kirby tied the knot. This alone wouldn’t have been major news for those who didn’t know them personally if it weren’t for the fact that George was 103 and Doreen was 91. The fact that their combined age was an impressive 194 years old means they became the Guinness Record holders for oldest newlyweds in the world, but George also earned the separate title of world’s oldest groom. Sadly, George died just a few days short of their first anniversary, but at least Doreen lives on knowing she and her husband will probably hold their impressive title for a long time. And while they may not have been married long, the couple spent 27 years together before tying the knot.
As for the oldest newlyweds still alive, that title belongs to Peter Barratt and Nancy Evans, who married in May this year at 82 and 83, respectively – giving them a combined age of 165.
5. Oldest Pilot
There are those who worry about elderly drivers… so just imagine how they would feel seeing the Guinness Record holder for world’s oldest pilot flying the friendly skies at the age of 99. Ernie Eli Smith started flying in 1946, meaning he’s been a pilot for over 70 years now and he doesn’t show any desire of staying grounded any time soon.
In fact, while he has said that he’d rather be the world’s youngest pilot, he still feels there’s no better place than in the air no matter what your age.
4. Oldest Yoga Instructor
Many older folks find it impossible to touch their toes, but for the world’s oldest yoga instructor, Tao Porchon-Lynch, that’s just child’s play. That’s not to say she can do all the wild poses that experienced yogis are known for – her most recent hip replacement (her third so far) does limit her movements a little bit. Even so, at 98, Tao is more flexible and athletic than the average 50 year old.
While yoga is what Tao is most famous for, it’s far from her only passion. She’s also a competitive ballroom dancer and she even appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2015, swinging from the neck of a man 70 years her junior.
Tao has been doing yoga since she was eight years old and perhaps thanks to her fascinating life (which included a lot of time spending time with celebrities like Mahatma Gandhi, Noël Coward, Marilyn Monroe, and the Dalai Lama), she’s far from your typical yoga instructor. Tao doesn’t drink water and only sips on tea and wine. She always has painted nails and wears heels whenever she’s not actually doing yoga.
Her rise to fame started in 2012, when one of her students helped her apply for the title of Oldest Living Yoga Teacher and a friend of hers shot pictures of her doing yoga in a formal red dress that quickly went viral. Since then, she’s become a fixture in the worldwide yoga scene: “At this point, you can’t have a yoga festival and not invite Täo,” said Ms. Burnham, who dedicates a whole weekend to “Täo workshops” at Dharma Yoga Nantucket, the studio she owns with her husband. “Being in her presence and seeing the expectations of what someone would think about someone who is 98, and seeing all those expectations squashed, is so incredible.”
3. Oldest Conjoined Twins
Conjoined twins don’t generally live long lives – in fact, most die shortly after birth. But Ronnie and Donnie Galyon are a notable exception to that rule. In fact, they beat the record for oldest conjoined twins when they turned 63 in 2014 and seem to be going strong almost two years later. The previous record holders, Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci, held the record for over seventy years, so Ronnie and Donnie aren’t likely to lose their title any time soon.
The twins, who are connected at the waist and share a lower digestive tract, groin, rectum and penis, owe their good health in part to a special bed custom made for them in 2010 by by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Before getting the bed, the duo had to sleep on the floor most of their lives.
2. Oldest Twins
When it comes to the world’s oldest twins, there are the oldest living pair of twins and the oldest pair to ever live. The oldest living pair as documented in the Guinness Book of Records is Raymonde Saumade and Lucienne Grare (born Raymonde and Lucienne née Wattbled). The two were born September 23, 1912, making them almost 105 years old. Unfortunately, the two have dementia and now live together in a nursing facility.
When it comes to oldest twins ever, the title goes to a Japanese pair of twins, Kin Narita and Gin Kanie (maiden name Yano). Whereas titles like “oldest married couple” are calculated using the age of both parties added together, the oldest twin title stops when either of the twins dies, which happened to Kin at the age of 107. Gin continued to live for one more year to the age of 108. The two were famous in Japan not only for their lengthy lifespan, but also for always wearing identical kimonos and for a rap song they released after turning 100.
1. Oldest Person to Climb Mount Everest
Reaching the summit of Mount Everest is a grueling physical task that has left hundreds of people dead, but to Yuichiro Miura, age is no obstacle when it comes to climbing. Yuichiro became the Guinness Record holder for the oldest person to climb Mount Everest at 70 in 2013, then when someone else took the record away, he reclaimed it at 75. When he lost the record a second time, he went back to reclaim it at 80. Impressively, Yuichiro wasn’t even in perfect health when he made his most recent attempt – he’s had four heart surgeries since 2007, had diabetes for years, and suffered from a fractured pelvis and left thigh bone that were injured during a skiing accident in 2009.
While Yuichiro climbed up Everest as a younger man in order to ski the mountain, he never actually reached the summit until his record-breaking attempt at 70. Climbing Everest wasn’t Yuichiro’s first world record; his first set a speed skiing record in 1964 by going almost 107 miles per hour (though that record only lasted a day). He was also the first person to ski Everest, where he also set a record for first person to ski at an altitude above 26,000 feet.
Yuichiro isn’t done breaking records; he’s now hoping to return to Everest when he turns 90 in 2023 in order to make the record even harder to break.