How to Live a Long, Healthy Life, According to the Oldest People on the Planet


15 Healthy Habits From People Who've Lived to 100

Want to live until you are 100? Your odds are better than you might think. Actually more and more people around the world are becoming centenarians according to the Pew Research Center the number of people age 100 and up is expected to grow eight-fold by 2050.

But blowing out 100 candles on your birthday is not only a matter of winning the genetic lottery. “About two-thirds of your longevity is within your control” said Susan Friedman, MD, MPH, geriatrician and an associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. It's all about making healthy lifestyle changes that's “not only make a difference concerning longevity but in terms of functional status as well” said Friedman. In other words you will be able to get around and feel better as you age.

There is no instruction manual that will guarantee you live to see triple digits there are healthy habits you can adopt now that might increase your chances. Keep reading to learn the doctor approved practices so you can steal them for yourself.

Stretch it out

At 100 years old Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest yoga instructor she is taught yoga around the world for more than 45 years and has practiced for over 70 years. The secret to her longevity might be all that stretching. “Most older adults I treat have a physical activity routine they follow religiously and stretching is a key part of it,” said Tanya Gure, MD an internal medicine physician from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Stretching contributes to their ability to have good mobility and decreases their risk of falling.”

Get outside

Becoming a homebody as you age can be tempting but staying socially and also physically active can improve your longevity according to a 2017 study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Researchers looked at how often folks between the ages of seventy and ninety left the house and how long they lived and found that those that got outside daily lived longer than those which didn't. Getting out of the house regularly might provide older adults with more opportunities to engage in social, cultural and physical activity that in turn boosts their health and longevity want to take your workout outside? Check out these power walking tips.

Don't smoke

One of the simplest ways to improve your chances of living longer? quite smoking “You don’t meet too many 90 and 100 year olds that smoke,” says Dr. Gure. In fact, according to the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General smokers on average die ten years earlier compared to non smokers and experience more health issues and disability as well.

Eat more vegetables

Lessie Brown an Ohio woman that lived to be 114 years old noshed on a sweet potato a day a habit her family attributes to her longevity. And 101 year old Christina Kislak Wahala of Cabot Pennsylvania credits a diet full of fresh vegetables and berries for her long life. Dr. Friedman is not surprised by their success people that live in Blue Zones communities where people live the longest and are the healthiest get at least 80 per cent of their diet from plants she notes. A plant based diet is naturally low in cholesterol and delivers a hearty dose of fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that maintain your immune system humming and body healthy.

Have faith

Duranord Veillard of Spring Valley New York that lived to be 111 years old told a reporter at his 108th birthday that his faith in God is what allowed him to live a long and healthy life. And he might be on to something a January 2018 study published in International Psychogeriatrics that looked at Italians between the ages of 90 and 101 found that most had a strong bond to their Catholic religion suggesting that faith might play a main role in longevity. Dr. Friedman said that spirituality and having a sense that you are part of a bigger picture can have a tremendous impact on how older adults thrive.

Be social

Studies have shown that people with big diverse social networks have a lower mortality risk compared to those with small and less diverse social networks Dr. Friedman notes that humans are social creatures: “We really need to interact with other people" she said. "When we don’t that can be a problem."

To providing emotional support “family and friends can see if you are getting sick and if you should go to the doctor" says Friedman. "Plus you tend to be more physically active if you are in close contact with friends and relatives as well."

Eat beans

If there is one staple to include in your diet it's beans that are high in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. “Beans are magical foods” said Dr. Friedman. In fact they might be the secret to longevity. According to Dr. Friedman each of the original Blue Zones include beans like fava beans, lentils, black beans and soybeans as an essential part of their diet.

Stay positive

A 2012 study from Aging that examined the personality traits of Ashkenazi Jewish people between 95 and 107 years old found that most of them tended to have a positive attitude and a sense of humor those traits could play a role in living a longer life. The same is for elderly residents of rural Italy between the ages of 90 and 101.

Researchers found that the oldest villagers exhibited a unique combination of resilience, grit and optimism that allowed them to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Be proactive

Dr. Gure said that the common thread she notices among her oldest patients is that they are proactive about staying healthy.

“They regularly see their healthcare providers for routine evaluations, vaccinations and management of chronic conditions” she said that means they can detect health issues early. But it’s not just that older adults are making and maintaining their appointments. They have good relationships with their doctors. “We discuss how to be more thoughtful about creating individualized care plans to meet patient’s goals while keeping a better quality of life,” she said.

Keep moving

When 111-year-old Downing Kay was a kid she would dance around the house with her siblings. Now as a super-centenarian she still takes a weekly Zumba class.

“People which do the best are lifelong exercisers” said Dr. Friedman. “A lot of our issues arise because we sit around a lot and that puts us at risk for chronic disease.” Exercise helps counteract risk factors for health issues such as cardiovascular disease and has been shown to boost mood as well.

A 2017 study of more than 130,000 people in Lancet found that getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day or 150 minutes a week decreased the risk of death by 28%. But you don’t have to spend time in a gym to reap the benefits. Incorporating movement such as walking, gardening and hiking into your daily life can make all the distinction.

Give back

According to Dr. Friedman volunteering can help older adults thrive. “They have a lifetime of skills knowledge, and wisdom to offer,” and finding a way to make use of their skills can be really helpful for everyone she says.

Volunteering nourishes social connections particularly ties between old and young generations. “Inter-generational relationships are critically essential for keeping vitality” said Dr. Gure. Programs like Experience Corps engage older adults as volunteers in schools. “They create a wonderful opportunity for interaction,” That helps set the stage for healthy aging by keeping older adults mentally engaged and socially connected she said.

Nosh on nuts

Loma Linda CA is one of the world’s longevity hotspots where residents live on average ten years longer than other North Americans. They not only fill their plates with a lot of whole foods but they eat plenty of nuts either.

A 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that incorporating nuts into your regular diet might boost your life expectancy by 1.5 to 2.5 years. Research shows that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 28%. Nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats that help boost good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol levels.

Have a sense of purpose

For Okinawans it’s called “Ikigai.” For Costa Ricans it’s called “Plan de Vida.” For a community of elderly adults living in rural Italy working in their homes and on their lands is what gave them a sense of purpose and helped them live longer according to researchers.

“One thing that’s a common thread among older adults is an understanding of the cycle of life and having a certain level of awareness of what their life means. And they value that” said Dr. Gure. Having a sense of purpose does not just give you a reason to get out the door in the morning it might make you more resilient too. “When you lose a partner or child there’s a certain level of fortitude of strength to move on. Instead of isolating themselves they connect with friends, family and loved ones” she said.

Don't stress

Stress and worry don't only bring on frown lines and wrinkles they can adversely affect your health as well. “High levels of stress weaken the immune system and open up the opportunity for disease to spread in the body” says Christopher Salem, DO a geriatrician at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center in Fountain Valley CA.

Stress can spark inflammation that contributes to chronic diseases like heart issues, diabetes and hypertension. “Most people that live to 100 have learned to go with the flow” stamping out life’s stressors where and when they can he said. While there is no magic recipe for busting stress doctors and researchers recommend finding a way to rest and recharge on a regular basis.

Avoid skipping breakfast

Upon turning 110 Erna Zahn of New Ulm Minnesota told reporters that she eats breakfast every day. Not just does your morning meal provide energy to get the day started it might help you keep a healthy weight. Researchers have found that skipping breakfast might be linked to a higher BMI and waist circumference that are risk factors for metabolic syndrome, heart issues, diabetes and other conditions that might shorten your life.




No comments

Powered by Blogger.