Living to 100 years old healthfully is still so rare that you often see these centenarians on the TV news, being celebrated for their amazing longevity and impressive mental and physical well-being. And while lifespans are increasing and it is becoming more common, it’s still quite a feat to make it to 100, one that even more people would like to duplicate. So how do they do it? How do these amazing folks make it to 100 healthfully? What are their secrets for hitting the century mark?
The first and most obvious thing when trying to increase your lifespan is to maintain a healthy diet. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat proteins is the single best way to increase your healthy years. These nutrient-dense foods provide your body with much-needed nutrients that facilitate proper functioning of the body’s vital systems, give you lots of energy, and prevent against many chronic diseases that can drastically reduce your healthy years. While maintaining a good diet is key in the long run, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun here and there. Talk to anyone that makes it to 100 and they’ll tell you that even though they eat healthy most of the time, they do have a soft spot for a glass of wine, a steak dinner, or a dish of ice cream here and there. As long as it’s in moderation, that little treat can really keep the spark in your step and help you to stay on a healthier path in the long-run.
Exercise is another huge factor in making it to 100, and one that most people often neglect when they start to age and slow down. But folks living into their 100s are always as active as they can be for their physical situation, and they have been active their entire lives. Now you might not need to run out and join the gym or start a strenuous routine, but if you can fit in 30 minutes a day of moderate activity and keep your body moving as much as possible by doing chores, taking the stairs, and walking outside when it’s warm, you’ll stay healthy and active for many years to come.
And it’s not just our bodies that need exercise, it’s our minds as well. If you stop learning, creating, growing, and challenging yourself, something that can easily happen in adulthood when routines become the norm and there aren’t always opportunities to try something new, you can easily get stuck in place. The folks that live to 100 are the ones that take up ballroom dancing at age 65 or learn to paint watercolors at 80 or try learning a new language in a college classroom at 92. Make it a priority to try a new activity once a month (at least), and if you find something new that you’re interested in, go all in. Take lessons, try a class, or meet up with others that have the same interests and chat. The more you get out and learn new things, the sharper your mind stays and the better chance you have of making it to 100 with all your faculties intact.
Now of course there are no secrets here. These aren’t magic pills or potions that will prolong your life or make you suddenly spry and youthful, but if you keep your body and mind moving and are mindful of healthy eating, you too can make it to 100 and beyond.