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World's oldest marathoner to retire at 101

January 29, 2013

Most seniors place an emphasis on staying physically active during retirement, but few have taken it to India's Fauja Singh's level. At 101, Singh has earned a place as the world's oldest marathoner, but plans on retiring from competitive racing after finishing the Hong Kong Marathon in February, a little over a month before he turns 102, reports Discovery.

Singh has long been a paragon of healthy aging. He did not take up running until he was 89, and has since run eight London Marathons. He has also competed in races in New York and Toronto. While he is planning on hanging up his racing shoes later this year, that doesn't mean that Singh will stop running completely. He still plans to exercise on a regular basis and hopes to encourage other older adults to do the same.

"I will keep running for at least four hours daily after that," he told the Times of India. "Running is my life. I will keep running to inspire the masses."

In addition to exercise, Singh gives credit to his healthy diet for allowing him to complete the 26.2-mile race so late in life. While older adults don't have to run marathons to reap the benefits, they can take a cue from Singh and make regular physical activity part of their retirement.

Seniors have a lot to gain from regular exercise, especially as it relates to independent living. Among the numerous benefits of physical activity is that it can help manage pain caused by arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not only that, but researchers have found that even something as simple as a 30 minute walk each day can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.