How to Live to Be 100 Years Old
"Getting older isn't a problem - you just have to live long enough." That's a famous Groucho Marx quote. So here are nine proven tips for becoming a centenarian.
That’s not a person who collects Lincoln pennies. It’s someone 100 years old! And you can be one, too. Just follow these suggestions.
1 - You behave more like an Extrovert than an Introvert.
What does that mean and how can you find out your preference? Here is a simplified explanation. Ask yourself if you have the opportunity to go to a party this week, will you be looking forward to attending? Or will you make an excuse because there’s a book you’re anxious to finish or a Hubpost you’re trying to complete.
Extroverts love to party. Introverts prefer solitary pursuits. Extroverts get their energy from outside themselves – from others. Introverts get their energy from within. If you are an Extrovert, living to 100 may well be within your grasp. If you are an Introvert, make an effort to start "partying" more.
2 - You add blueberries or raspberries to your morning oatmeal.
Lose that donut, that cruller or that frosted cinnamon bun. Instead, eat oatmeal for breakfast and add one cup of blueberries (4 grams of fiber) or one cup of raspberries (8 grams of fiber). Most of us eat 14 to 17 grams of fiber per day but if you add only 10 grams, you reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 17%. How do I know? A recent study from the Netherlands told me so.
Additional fiber is good for you in other ways, too. Dietary fiber helps reduce total and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost weight loss. If you add one cup of raspberries to your oatmeal (½ cup dry has 4 grams of fiber) you get 12 grams of fiber in just one meal. If you prefer other cereal in the morning, have ½ cup of 100% bran cereal (8.8 grams of fiber).
Other fiber-rich foods are sweet potatoes, pears, black beans and walnuts. I love walnuts especially when they're surrounded by dark chocolate. And now that I know walnuts and dark chocolate are actually good for you, I may need assistance with my will power.
3 - You have learned to send emails, embrace Google and tweet on Twitter.
In other words, you stay connected with new technology, current trends, your friends and family members. Evercare, a division of United Healthcare, is a group that sponsors an annual poll of U.S. centenarians. Researchers there discovered that many of the oldest Americans who use the latest technology stay not only mentally spry but socially engaged. If you can stay connected to friends, family and current events as you age, you will continue to feel vital and relevant.
4 - You count your calories.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported that men and women who limited their daily calories to 1,400 to 2,000 (about 25% fewer calories than those who follow a typical Western diet) were literally young at heart. Their hearts functioned like those of people 15 years younger.
Subjects in the study ate only vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat, chicken, fish and nuts and drank fat-free milk. They cut out the empty calories found in candy, cookies, soda and white bread. There go my dark chocolate walnuts.
5 - You see yourself as 13 years younger than you are.
That's what older people in good health said in a recent survey of more than 500 men and women age 70 and older. "Feeling youthful is linked to better health and a longer life," say researchers at the University of Michigan. Seeing yourself as younger than you are indicates an optimistic outlook which can motivate you to overcome challenges. This positive point of view helps reduce stress, boost your immune system and ultimately lowers your risk of disease.
6 - Your pulse beats 15 times during 15 seconds.
That equates to 60 beats per minute - or the number of times a healthy heart beats at rest. Most people have resting rates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The closer you are to the lower end of the spectrum, the healthier you are. “A slower pulse means your heart doesn't have to work as hard and could last longer,” says the director of the Women's Cardiovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic.
7 - You do not snore.
Snoring can be a major sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly because throat tissue collapses and blocks your airway. In severe cases, this can happen 60 to 70 times per hour. Sleep apnea may be responsible for a number of health problems: high blood pressure, memory impairment, weight gain, and depression.
An 18-year study found that people free of sleep apnea were three times more likely to live longer than those with severe apnea. If you snore and have excessive daytime drowsiness or mood changes, talk with your doctor about a referral to a sleep center.
8 - You play brain games, not mind games.
Numerous research studies show that even brief sessions of brain exercise can have long-lasting positive benefits for older adults helping them to stay mentally fit. Do the crossword puzzles in your local newspaper and work up to the more difficult ones in the New York Times. Play Scrabble and learn to play Bridge.
9 - You exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes every day.
Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine in California found that middle-aged folks who exercised a total of about five hours each week lived longer, and also functioned better physically and cognitively as they got older. This study tracked both runners and non-runners for 21 years.
The participants in the study didn't just get less heart disease - they also developed fewer cases of cancer, neurological diseases and infections. Conclusion: aerobic exercise helps you maintain a healthy, "young" immune system. If running isn't your thing, then swimming or any other exercise for just 20 minutes a day that leaves you breathless will help you maintain good health.
Personal note: I try to exercise at least 30 to 40 minutes every day because I know how vital exercise is to my sense of well-being as well as my health. But I either swim or walk - no more rope jumping. Why did I quit? Did you ever see a dog laugh while you were gracefully (?) jumping rope? 'Nuff said!
© Copyright B.J. Rakow 2010, 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So"