Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex Features
January 15, 2015 08:45 PM

Aging doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down – that’s what Russian journalist and photographer Vladimir Yakovlev set out to capture in his the Age of Happiness project, which shows people over 60 partaking in hobbies they love.

According to his Tumblr site, Yakovlev, 55, spent two years traveling around the world, seeking out “people who take pleasure in life despite their high age … who enjoy each day and inspire others to make their lives equally fulfilling.”

His photos include personal stories of the seniors featured, including a man who biked 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles) in 60 minutes on his 100th birthday, a 61-year-old woman who learned to pole dance two years ago, a woman who became a club DJ at the age of 68 and an 86-year-old competitive skater.

Greta Pontarelli, the American pole dancer, revealed that she took up her hobby when she was 59.

“Many who are already 40 think that it’s too late to begin something new,” she said. “It’s not true.”

“When I m in a bad mood, I look at my contemporaries with their oxygen pillows, put on my skates and smile,” says Colorado skater Yvonne Dowlen, who continued her passion despite being severely concussed in a car injury at the age of 80.

Yvonne Dowlen
Vladimir Yakovlev/Rex Features

The purpose of Yakovlev’s project is to try “to find clues, common factors or perhaps a particular way of living, which will allow others to change their attitude towards the period of life we call the Age of Happiness” and to “change your perception of life after 60, 70, 80 or even 90.”

More than 50 individuals are featured, all with unique stories to tell – and all proving that age really is just a number.

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