Karate and ballet aren’t the typical activities you’d expect someone over 70 to enjoy, but one photographer has discovered that it’s the key for some to staying young.

Vladimir Yakovlev created the photo series The Age of Happiness in the hope of changing our ideas about what life is like after 70, 80, 90 or even 100.

Two years ago, the photojournalist travelled around the world searching for people who have discovered new-found hobbies and pleasures in their older age.

On his travels the Yakovlev met some extraordinary characters who enjoy each and every day and inspire others to make their lives as fulfilling.

He hopes that this will allow others to change their attitude towards later life and strive to see it as an age of happiness and discovery.

Some of his photo subjects include Ruth, John, Paul and Greta.  Ruth decided to become a club DJ when she turned 68.

After losing her husband suddenly after 40 years together, she found she no longer wanted to stay in their home in a village in Portugal. Everything around her reminded her of her loss and she decided she had to try something new.

When she told friends she was set on becoming a DJ she says they thought her sorrow had driven her to madness.

Ruth could not understand why everyone was so convinced that older people are supposed to sit quietly at home and not dance at night clubs.

Over the past two years, 73-year-old Ruth has performed over 80 times. She has played at various clubs in London, Ibiza, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and even Tokyo.

63-year-old Greta only began pole dancing two years ago but it has already become one of her favourite ways to stay active.

At 59, she was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, a condition that destroys bone density.

She explains: "To strengthen my bones, I needed strenuous exercise, something that would involve lifting weights. But just weight-lifting is very boring. That's why I looked into dancing with a pylon."

At 94, John Lowe's favourite thing to do is ballet. What makes his story even more inspiring is that he only started when he was 80 years old.

John says that he dreamed about dancing his entire life. To stay in shape, he rehearses at the theatre three times a week, and on top of that, practices alone at home every day.

John even created a dance room at home, putting down a wooden floor and installed a ballet bar along the wall. Sometimes, to get his mind off of his ballet training, he rollerblades.

When he turned 90, his family of four kids and 11 grandchildren forbade him from leaping and turning 360 degrees in mid-air.

"They are afraid that if I fall, they won't be able to put me back together, and, in a way, they are right," he jokes.  So for now John just leaps, without turning. But, he cannot keep himself from leaping.

For more information, visit Vladimir Yakovlev’s website.

Have you taken up an unusual hobby in your later years? Tell us in the Comments section below.