Living to 100 and Loving It!

Living to a ripe old age has always been a goal of mine. For that reason, any news story about someone that has lived to a hundred or beyond gets my attention immediately. I love to see what they did to keep themselves healthy. Infrequently, someone says something surprising like that they drank and smoke every day for decades. Those people are few and far between though. So, I throw those outliers out and focus on the vast majority of the people. Those others were just blessed with the right genetics and I can’t count on that or do anything to get myself good genetics if I don’t have them already.

I know some people always point to those outliers though. Mostly because they’re busy and don’t want to put in the hard work. Now, I know as well as anyone that life can be very busy. I work full time as a Director of Rehabilitation and I have two young sons who constantly keep me on my toes. Despite my busy schedule though, I make time to be healthy. I exercise a minimum of 4 days/week, eat whole, organic foods and spend quality time with my family. Why? Simple. Because I want to be healthy enough to one day spend time with my great grandchildren and be well enough for both me and them to enjoy it. I’m not going to get there by complaining about how busy I am and taking poor care of myself and my family.

Now I know that there are no guarantees in life and that I can put in the hard work and still get hit by a bus or get some mystery disease while traveling to exotic locales, but that is no reason not to work to be healthy. Living a sedentary lifestyle with poor eating habits contributes to a significant number of preventable deaths every year. After all, those behaviors are risk factors for many diseases. So, why take that chance when from what I’ve gleaned from the centenarians that I have read about, the things that they thought were key to their longevity weren’t necessarily that time consuming or onerous. Curious what some of the most important factors were in those people surviving to see their 100th birthdays? Of course you are. So, here they are.

What can I do to live a long life?
Here are a few lifestyle habits that centenarians tend to have in common:

  1. They keep active: Exercise has numerous health benefits, such as, improved strength, posture, flexibility, increased energy, lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol, decreased stress, improved cognitive functioning and better quality sleep. So, get out and do some type of activity at least 3-5x/week for 30 minutes.
  2. They maintain a healthy diet: Centenarians tend to have a diet that is plentiful in fruits, vegetables, fish and has little to no red meat. That makes it harder for diseases, such as cancer and heart disease to strike.
  3. They get plenty of sleep: Lack of sleep overtime can take a toll on your body and decrease your ability to function. So, make sure to get enough sleep every night.
  4. They keep their minds active: Make it your mission to be a lifelong learner. This will keep your life not only interesting and fun, but it will also keep your mind sharp and agile. So, find a new hobby, learn a new skill and keep up with technology and current events.
  5. They are optimistic and happy: Happy people tend to live longer. If you are stressed or unhappy, make it a mission to find out why and fix it.
  6. They live in a good environment: Try to live in a place with clean air and water. Also look for a low stress place with a supportive community and access to nature. Minimizing chemical exposure and living in a healthy, supportive environment support physical and mental health, which go hand in hand when it comes to longevity.

The bottom line:

Lifestyle plays a major role in longevity. So, don’t ignore it. While almost everyone can come up with someone that lived to an advanced age while seemingly living a less than perfect life, those people usually only indulged in one vice. Also, they rarely indulged in that vice to extremes. Plus, those exceptions were often born with genetics that could have made them record setters with their years if they chose to care for themselves better. So, don’t bank on being genetically gifted and think that you can abuse yourself and still live to a ripe old age. The numbers are not on your side if you do that, but they start to head to your side when you start living right.

Comments (3)

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  1. Isabel says:

    I believe that if you keep busy, exercise, eat healthy food and enjoy life you have a better chance to live longer. Let’s hope so!!!

  2. Everybody should aim to live a long, healthy life. These are great tips to do so. As you age it’s tempting to give up on exercise, but even a short walk can make a big difference.

  3. sagajagads says:

    I’m not going to get there by complaining about how busy I am and taking poor care of myself and my family.
    la fitnesslocation

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