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​Legendary Harvard Scientist, 104, Thinks It May Be Time To Quit The Gym

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​Legendary Harvard Scientist, 104, Thinks It May Be Time To Quit The Gym

A pioneering Harvard scientist has decided she's finally at the age where she needs to quit the gym, having turned 104 on Tuesday (28 July).

Ruth Kundsin is a retired microbiologist who was also one of the first female professors at Harvard University.

Despite being over the age of 100, Kundsin has had a better gym routine than most of us put together, having turned up for weekly sessions with trainer Dick Raymond - 70 himself - at the YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Now, however, Kundsin reckons it might finally be time to throw in the towel, fearing she may now be just that little bit too frail for Raymond's workouts.

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Credit: South Shore YMCA
Credit: South Shore YMCA

She told The Patriot Ledger: "It may be that I'm just too old. I'm not very good at it anymore."

Raymond, who is 70, believes Kundsin has nothing to be worried about, and thinks she should continue using her favourite leg, core and upper body strength-training machines - saying there's still a lot she can do.

"I am hoping to get Ruth to come back because I think it would still do her a lot of good," he said.

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"The most important thing for her to work on is her balance and working with weights."

Credit: The Patriot Ledger
Credit: The Patriot Ledger

Like many people, Kundsin had to stop her weekly personal trainer sessions when the gym closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Not that this stopped her, mind, as she still went and bought her own equipment such as weights and elastic bands so that she could continue working out at home with Raymond.

Again, like many of us, the novelty of working out at home soon wore thin, and Kundsin decided to stop - though assures the world she's still enjoying a very happy life.

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The widowed mother-of-two continued: "I am very happy in my life and I have found that if you age in your own home, it is so good."

Born in New York City to Latvian parents in 1916, Kundsin didn't retire until she was 81, having enjoyed a long career in science.

Credit: South Shore YMCA
Credit: South Shore YMCA

After graduating with a master's degree in microbiology the Boston School of Medicine, she went on to study for a doctorate in microbiology, epidemiology and biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health - and eventually was made an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, also working as an epidemiologist at Peter Brent Brigham Hospital between 1970 and 1982.

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It wasn't until she was 93 that she started training with Raymond, having been happily working out with him for more than a decade.

She was also once a keen swimmer, who took gold in the Senior Olympics. Is there anything this woman can't do?

Speaking to WBZ-TV last year, Kundsin attributed her long, healthy life not only to her exercise, but also the social aspect that has come with it.

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"I think it helps you to say alive," she said.

"I really do. And by the time you're through you're ready to go to bed. I am! I go home and I take a nap."

Featured Image Credit: South Shore YMCA

Topics: News, US News

Jess Hardiman
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