Who says you have to be young to be a cheerleader? Definitely not these lovely ladies from Japan, who all love getting in their colorful outfits, dancing and shaking their pom poms, and showing their vivacious spirit. And there's nothing that will get in their way, not even father time. The average age of the squad is a very young 70 years old.

Japan Pom Pom is not some gimmicky group formed for attention. They've actually been around for 20 years, started by 84-year-old Fumie Tanaka, who still is an active member and leader of the squad. When she was younger, Fumie didn't have enough confidence to even try cheerleading out, but over the years, certain life experiences strengthened her. At the age of 53, she moved to Texas to study. Despite her dying mother being against it, her children supported her wishes, and she faced the biggest challenge in her life. After she turned 60, her marriage and relationship with her husband went downhill and ultimately ended, and all hope seemed to be lost. Until she finally tried cheerleading, that is. Never being able to forget the first time she saw American professional cheerleaders perform, Fumie called five of her best friends and they all started practicing. (And having a lot of fun, I imagine.) And all that was 20 years ago.

Now with 28 members, ranging from age 55 to 84, the girls get together every week to practice. They say that being physically active leads to good health, both for the body and the mind, and the cheerleaders of Japan Pom Pom are all perfect examples of that. Sure, sometimes members will have to reluctantly retire due to their physical limitations or other circumstances old age brings, but that's just part of the game. The squad will continue on, hopefully for the next 20 years and more.

Now I definitely have no excuse to not go to the gym today.


Jealousy Incarnate

Starring Jo Jung Suk and Gong Hyo Jin

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