Want to know how to live a long life? Living a happy, long life is totally possible — just ask any person over 100, and they will tell you their own secrets to growing old.
Even if it might be in your genetics to get a rare disease and be at risk of certain health conditions, remember that genetic makeup only consists of 20-30 percent of your longevity.
Therefore, the other 70-80 percent of your longevity in life is due to your lifestyle choices and how you decide to live your life health-wise.
According to research (and people who have lived past the age of 100), there are a few ways you too can live to 100 and beyond while staying healthy and happy.
Here’s some advice to follow from the old and wise on how to live a long life:
1. Eat a healthy diet.
This might be obvious, but eating healthy the majority of the time is the best way to stay healthy, especially if you’re not an active person.
Eating fruits, vegetables, protein with healthy fats, and whole grains is very important if you want your body to function normally and live longer. If you’re focused on eating overly-processed food high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, you’re increasing your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, and more.
Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of New Jersey, was interviewed by The New York Times in February 2021 and revealed that she has lived through the Spanish flu, two World Wars, and a COVID-19 diagnosis. And she’s currently 105 years old. Her advice to live a long life included living each day one step at a time, avoiding junk food, and eating nine gin-soaked raisins a day (they have to be soaked for nine days).
2. Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
If you haven’t exercised since mandatory high-school gym class, then you probably should start now to give yourself some extra time at the end of your life.
When Beryl Netto from New York was turning 100, she told Glamour magazine in 2015 that exercising every day was the key to success. “Take care of yourself. Exercise is the main thing. I still try before bedtime for about a half-hour. I do leg-lifts and work my arms,” said Netto.
The Department of Health and Human Services reports that the benefits of being physically active include maintaining a healthy weight, heart health, and adequate stress management. They also recommend getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week, such as taking a walk, going on a bike ride, or swimming.
3. Keep your mind active.
Keeping your mind active as you get older can help you be less likely to experience short- and long-term memory loss. It also can help prevent cognitive decline, which can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Even if memory loss runs in your family, keeping your brain active can greatly improve your cognitive function and even contribute to a reduced risk of early-onset dementia.
Paul Hitch from Savannah, Georgia, celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2021 and told Eating Well that he works with his stocks almost daily. “It’s challenging and keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the world.”
4. Think positive thoughts only.
The best way to live a happy and long life is to think positively. See the glass half-full instead of half-empty.
Research actually proves that keeping a more positive mindset during your life can help you live longer. Being optimistic is linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol which is what you want because high blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart attacks, strokes, and heart diseases.
Arlena Labon, a 108-year-old from East Cleveland, Ohio, said in an interview with Fox8 News in 2016 that the secret to longevity is having a positive outlook, loving one another, and treating each other well. However, old age runs in her family, as she had a cousin who lived to be 114.
5. Sleep more often.
Work or nights out can often get in the way of your sleep schedule, but lack of sleep can also mean a shorter life. So, try to take more naps as you get older or find some other way to relax daily.
Research has shown that sleep deprivation and sleeping less than five hours can lead to major health problems. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. So, make sure you are getting at least six to eight hours of sleep each day.
Kermit Hongo, who was the world’s oldest person in 2003, died at the age of 116 and was known for her unique sleep habit which consisted of sleeping for two days straight and staying up for two days straight. Her grandson said they even fed her in her sleep.
6. Stay single and relationship stress-free.
For some, the secret to living a long life is staying single. That was the case for 109-year-old Jessie Gallan, who was the oldest woman in Scotland in 2015. She told Daily Mail her secret was “staying away from men.” She also said that they’re more trouble than they’re worth.
107-year-old Louise Signore from New York City agreed and told reporter, Jessica Layton, in 2019 that the secret to her old age was staying single. “I think the secret of [being] 107 [is that] I never got married. I think that’s the secret. My sister says, ‘I wish I never got married!'”
Now, they both might have a point because constant stress from marriage and relationships can definitely age a person. And, according to research, no marriage ever is stress-free.
7. Remember to have fun and do everything in moderation.
Sometimes when you’re old, you might have a mentality of doing whatever you want. That can be fine as long as it’s in moderation. Drinking a glass of red wine or two every day or smoking one cigarette won’t kill you, especially if you do it for 100 years like French-born Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122. She ate more than 2 pounds of chocolate a week, smoked until she was 117, and rode her bicycle until she was 100.
As you can see, there are several ways you can keep yourself healthy and live as long as possible. So, follow some of these advice, and you may find yourself living a long life, way more than 100 years!
Originally written by Megan Hatch on YourTango
Featured image via Vlada Karpovich on Pexels