Photo Series Of Seniors Shatters Every Aging Stereotype

01/15/2015 11:35 am ET | Updated Jan 20, 2015

Mark Twain once said "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." But with negative stereotypes of aging in the media, it's hard not to associate growing older with nothing but aches, pains, feebleness, and lack of freedom and mobility. So to uncover the truth about aging, journalist and photographer Vladimir Yakovlev set out to find if age really has anything to do with your happiness or ability to accomplish great things.

At 56, Yakovlev said it was his own curiosity about aging that prompted the series, "The Age of Happiness." "It was a personal question," Yakovlev told The Huffington Post in an email. "I wanted to find out how much I can affect/influence whatever is my life gonna be after 70."

For nearly five years, Yakovlev traveled Europe, China and the United States, meeting incredible people at age 60, 70, 80 and beyond, who aren't letting age slow them down. The stunning photographs reveal individuals who are accomplishing things they never thought were possible, especially at an older age.

They are marathoners, skateboarders, ice skaters, and DJs. There's even a 60-something pole-dancer. What did the photographer learn from the dozens of inspiring seniors he met? "Life after 60 can be the best time in your life. I can be happy," he said.

Check out some of the amazing images from the collection in the gallery below.

  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Greta Pontarelli is 63 years old. Greta only started pole dancing two years ago, when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition that destroys bone density. "To strengthen my bones, I needed strenuous exercise. But just weight-lifting is very boring. That's why I looked into dancing with a pylon."
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Greta Pontarelli is 63 years old. Greta only started pole dancing two years ago, when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition that destroys bone density. "To strengthen my bones, I needed strenuous exercise. But just weight-lifting is very boring. That's why I looked into dancing with a pylon."
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Lloyd Kahn first tried skateboarding at 65. He stood up on a board, fell immediately, and hurt his hand. From that experience, he concluded that he should wear full protective gear: knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet. Lloyd, who is now 79 years old, said: "I don't do any special tricks. I don't ride like the teenagers. I try not to go too fast, so that I could always jump off and land on my feet."
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • For most of his life, Paul Fegen was a multi-millionaire. Today, at 80, he's a card trick magician. Paul became bankrupt and lost all he had at the of 66. Now his main source of income is the modest compensation he receives for his performances.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Yvonne Dole had a car accident when she was 80 years old resulting in a serious concussion. Doctors advised her to hang up her skates. Today the 89 year old continues to participate in competitions. "If I ever get in a bad mood, I look at [my] peers with their oxygen bags, put on skates and smile."
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Yvonne Dole had a car accident when she was 80 years old, resulting in a serious concussion. Doctors advised her to hang up her skates. Today the 89 year-old continues to participate in competitions. "If I ever get in a bad mood, I look at [my] peers with their oxygen bags, put on skates and smile."
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Montserrat Mecho is happiest when she jumps out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to her back. Over the last few years, the 80 year old has jumped thousands of times -- her pursuit of happiness brings her back to the skies over and over again. Aside from her free falls, Montserrat has broken a few records in swimming. She is also a downhill skier, a windsurfer, and a diver.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Nina Melnikova, 79 and Antonina Kulikova, 79, (Novosibirsk, Russia) picked up aikido at the age of 70. They now train at least twice a week. Each training lasts around three hours.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • At 88, Johanna Quaas is a true gymnastics star. Quaas only started training when she turned 56.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Duan Tzinfu, 76, demonstrates his amazing flexibility. He only started training when he turned 60. Before he started training, 40 years of hard work at a glass production plant meant he could barely walk and was not flexible enough to reach his toes.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Duan Tzinfu, 76, demonstrates his amazing flexibility. He only started training when he turned 60. Before he started training, 40 years of hard work at a glass production plant meant he could barely walk and was not flexible enough to reach his toes.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • The day Pat Moorhead turned 80, he celebrated by performing 80 parachute jumps in a row, with no breaks. The 82 year old spends most of his time traveling around the world with his wife. They have visited over 180 countries.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • Ruth Flowers decided to become a DJ at 68 with no prior experience whatsoever. She enjoyed flying around the world performing at popular clubs, until her death in May 2014.
  • Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex
  • John Lowe took up ballet when he turned 80. Now 94, he dances professionally and enjoys performing on stage.

This article has been updated to note Flowers' death in May 2014.

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