Wanna live to a hundred? Hey, it’s possible. Modern medicine and advances in technology can extend your time in this world. Combine them with good living habits and a positive attitude and you might even like it.
Genetics play a role of course. If your grandma lived to 100, that’s a good card to have. But genes will take you so far. The rest is up to you. There’s no substitute for living well, doing what you love and embracing each day with a positive attitude. Take care of your body, and your mind, and they’ll take care of you. Better yet, practice these common anti-aging secrets, of centurions and the happily aged, and one day you might join them.
There are many anti-aging secrets, but few more valuable than what goes in your mouth. Strive for plenty of whole wheat products, including bread and pasta, with eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they’re low in the nutrients needed to maintain healthy organ function, and they contribute to obesity and lower quality of life.
In addition, eat foods that are high in the fatty acid omega-3. Studies confirm that regular omega-3 intake can delay onset of dementia and promote healthy skin and cardiovascular function. Flaxseed, walnuts and oily fish (especially salmon) are all good sources of omega-3.
Mobility counts, and not just the wireless kind. Go to any nursing home and you’ll see that most patients have trouble walking. How’d you like that immobility at 60? Get off your duff and get walking, and start soon. Begin at 40 with three 45 minute walking sessions a week and you can be vertical at 90. Wait until you’re 45 and you can be bed-ridden twenty years later.
While we’re on the subject, take a use it or lose it approach, to your body and that organ upstairs. Stay active, with regular resistance training, and you can delay significant muscle loss well into your 80’s. And keep those neurons firing in your brain, with crossword puzzles and mental stimulation, to keep dementia at bay.
By the way, there’s evidence that musical and bilingual adults delay dementia even longer than monoglots and adults who can’t tell Beethoven from Justin Bieber. One of the best anti-aging secrets going is to learn another language, or pick up a musical instrument.
Be social, with a sunny disposition. Work those social connections, be they family, friends, community members, or all of them. Research shows that centurions are socially active, with a supportive network.
And another anti-aging secret: have a hobby. Centurions reach triple digits because they do what they love, and they do it a lot. Whether that’s golfing, knitting or bingo is up to you. Just do it often, and do it with others.
Finally, learn to manage stress. There’s no such thing as a stress-free life, but there’s a nifty technique called stress management. Exercise can alleviate stress and so can meditation and prayer. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive and forget. An angry heart is a first-class ticket to an early grave.