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VIDEO: 82-Year-Old Fitness Star Loves Her Gym Routine, Defies Age Stereotypes

BY Anna Mason TIMEMay 27, 2022 PRINT

An 82-year-old fitness fanatic is a massive hit on social media.

Erika Rischko, from Germany, began gym training later in life and has gone from strength to strength. Now able to hold the dreaded plank position for more than eight minutes, she inspires followers of all ages with her attitude and dedication.

Popular on TikTok and Instagram, Erika says she’s having great fun and reaping the benefits of exercise, while challenging common beliefs. Erika told The Epoch Times that people think that you cannot start your fitness journey “after 40 or 50,” or that old people prefer to play tennis or golf but do not want to go the gym or “push themselves anymore.”

Erika was 55 when her daughter signed her up at a local gym, and now she visits the gym six times a week. “I work out twice a day at least three times a week. So, on average, I spend 12–14 hours a week,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

When Germany entered lockdown in March 2020, Erika started to join some of the workout challenges on social media. In April that year, her daughter discovered TikTok and set up an account for her. She now has 377,000 followers, and 5 million likes.

In addition, Erika does dance videos together with her husband, Dieter, also 82, with the couple receiving much love.

“On TikTok, we quickly developed a following,” she said. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. People comment things like: ‘couple goals’; ‘can you adopt me’; ‘I want to be like you when I grow old’; ‘great to see you so fit’; ‘age is just a number’; ‘I need to get back to the gym.’”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

Having both knees replaced a few years ago did not stop the self-confessed “fitness junkie,” who said she was “up and running in no time again.”

Staying motivated is not a challenge for Erika, who thrives on staying fit and healthy through a mix of different workouts, including functional fitness, Pilates, TRX (total resistance exercises), spinning, and weight lifting.

“Consistency is key,” she said. “Find a sport that you truly enjoy. If you do not like working out, find a workout buddy or a group sport activity. A bit of peer pressure never hurts!”

(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

Erika is a fan of working with a trainer, and appreciates the more personal touch offered by smaller, independently owned gyms.

“Often [they] offer better services and more opportunities to work with a trainer one-on-one. It is so important to work regularly with a trainer. This way, you will see progress and more importantly, not hurt yourself,” she said.

Feeling great, staying healthy, seeing continuous progress, and achieving new records is the octogenarian’s reward. The only thing she can’t do, she says, is much running and jumping.

“I am more comfortable in my own skin, and I’m sure that I’m as healthy as I am because I spend so many hours at the gym,” she said. “I love sports, and I am really sad when I cannot go to the gym. I’m just happy and thankful to be able to do what I love and enjoy.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

While husband Dieter isn’t quite as into exercise as his wife—though he still goes to the gym three times a week—Erika says he has always supported her. In February this year, the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. In true form, they marked the event with a TikTok video.

“We met at a dance hall” Erika said, “and now so many, many years later, we are dancing again, but on TikTok. Whoever thought we would tape a video for social media on our wedding anniversary, hopping onto new dance trends?”

(Courtesy of Erika Rischko)

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Anna Mason
Anna Mason is a writer based in England. She has a degree in Literature and a curiosity about people and places that formal education would not satiate. Anna enjoys storytelling, adventures, the Balearic sunshine and the Yorkshire rain.
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