How to Live to 100

How to Live to 100

How to live to 100How to live to 100 is something you may aspire to do, and while you may have no control over certain circumstances, we suggest 10 things you CAN do increase your lifespan and make those extra years good-quality years. When we look at the things that centenarians have in common, we can see that certain characteristics seem to apply to all of them. Yes healthy habits and diet are part of it, but so are other traits like attitude, happiness, and being involved in things that give you purpose and a reason why you get up in the morning.

You don’t want to dread getting older. Adults who have positive attitudes about getting older live over seven years longer than people with negative attitudes about aging. Perhaps George Burns said it best, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” We cannot stop the passage of time, but we can strive to be our best and enjoy our lives in the time we have. Celebrate each candle on your birthday cake as an accomplishment. How do we do this? Follow our tips on how to live to 100 for a start. These are all factors that were referenced in The Blue Zones, a major study of the populations that has the most centenarians in the world per head of population.

Have a Positive Attitude

Happiness and attitude are very important. Optimism is a trait that is linked with longer life spans. Even studies support this. A 2011 study found that the group of older people that scored as the happiest had a death rate of 3.6%, which is less than half of the death rate of the least happy people, who scored 7.3%. Optimistic, outgoing, and easygoing people live longer. So roll with it. That being said, don’t be so optimistic that you take risks and ignore your health. You need to watch your health and make safe decisions. If something needs attention take care of it.

Laugh

Researchers in a 2012 study that was published in the Journal of Aging identified common personality characteristics of 243 centenarians. A love of laughter was on the list, and laughter was listed as an important part of life to them. Even people who smile more may live several years longer than people who do not smile as much.

Exercise

Regular exercise, be it walking, swimming, water aerobics, or riding a bike is going to extend your life. Exercises like yoga also help keep you flexible, improve your balance, and help relieve stress and anxiety. Getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week can add four years to your life. Can you walk to the store or move about without your car? Do you work in your yard? The key is to stay active.

Family First

Family is important. People who put family first live longer. That goes for both your partner and other family members. Baby boomers who are in long-term relationships are less likely to die early than their single peers. It is better for you to keep your aging parents nearby, and if you have invested love and time in your own children they will be more likely to help you and offer support when you need it.

Get a Hobby

A hobby gives you a purpose and promotes socializing and sharing your interests with friends and family members. Building on a skill helps you set goals and continue to improve yourself. Keep your brain sharp and busy with an interesting hobby. Even gardening, doing art, playing card games, or doing crossword puzzles count.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

You can’t take things too seriously. Set aside your grudges and try to move on from unpleasant experiences. Everyone experiences stress, which leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with nearly every age-related health problem. People who know how to live to 100 (or at least longer lives) find healthy ways to manage stress, whether it is exercise, meditation, tai chi, talking with friends, praying, taking a nap, or some other exercise that helps them unwind.

Join a Social Group

It is important to stay engaged with others. Many communities have active senior centers where you can meet others and even take local day trips. Maybe one of your hobbies will connect you with people who share something in common with you. Perhaps your place of worship has some social groups that interest you. Speaking of worship, 263 centenarians were interviewed. All of them but 5 belonged to a faith-based community. Studies show that no matter what their faith, the people who attend faith-based services 4 times per month add 4 to 14 years to their life expectancy.

Animal friends are beneficial too! Your furry friends can help you cope with depression and stress. People who own cats and dogs live longer than petless peers. Simply owning a cat could cut your risk for a heart attack by almost one third. Having a dog can help you get exercise and out of the house. Walk to the local dog park to socialize with other pet lovers in your community. Even just going around the block is bound to help you meet your neighbors.

Help Others

Volunteer, donate, and help others when you can. Doing this will no doubt do just as much for you as it does for the people you help. Helping others allows you to contribute to your community, meet others, and find a purpose or a cause you believe in. Plus, volunteers live longer than people who don’t give their time.

Cook Your Own Meals

A 2012 study published in Public Health Nutrition found that people who cook at home up to five times a week live longer than those who eat out more often. In fact the homemade meal eaters were 47% more likely to still be alive after a decade.

Do Everything in Moderation

Leon Totura, who lived until just before his 102nd birthday, shared his advice for a long and healthy life: do everything in moderation. When it comes to alcohol, that advice holds up in studies as well. Middle-aged and older adults who drink one or two glasses of wine live longer, but heavy drinkers have a 42% increased mortality risk. More than two drinks per day is associated with increased falls, risk of other problems, and adverse reactions with medications. Apply moderation to drinking coffee, eating bacon, or any other less-healthy habits you might have. If you can’t do away with something you love, just do it in moderation.

The Blue Zones

The Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live measurably longer lives. The people who live in these areas share certain characteristics that contribute to their longevity. They share many of the characteristics above, especially putting family first, having a purpose, and staying socially engaged, but they also eat a diet high in plant-based foods, especially legumes, and do constant physical activity. There is less smoking in these communities. You can learn how to live to 100, or at least a long life, by adopting some of the healthy habits and traits of the people who have figured out how to live to 100.

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