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How to Live for 100+ Years

Updated on May 5, 2020
Grahame Milton-Jones profile image

Grahame has used his knowledge of psychotherapy built up over 20 years to provide this valuable advice.

Older couple

What to do to live a healthy life till well over 100 years

Planet Earth was home to nearly half a million centenarians (people ages 100 and older) in 2015, more than four times as many as in 1990, according to United Nations estimates. And this growth is expected to accelerate. Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe in 2050.

At first glance, the keys to a long life are: living a more natural life, continuing to work and having a drive to live a long time. This is far too simplistic however. Certainly, being determined to live a long time is necessary; most people do not have that mindset.

According to Professor Roy Walford of the University of California, the CRON diet is important. This is the Calorie Restriction Optimal Nutrition diet which, he believes, will enable people to live to 120 years. He went on to say, however, that many people do not want to live to 120 years because they think that they will be frail for the last 40 years; but this is not necessarily true.

It is not living to 100 years that is important

It is being healthy for 100 years that is key

According to doctors who specialise in longevity, there is no reason why people cannot live to between 100 and 120 years; the present prediction is that babies born today will achieve that naturally. It seems that living a long life is linked to what people believe they will live. Those who believe will achieve. Dying is a self fulfilling prophesy.

There are no courses on how to live a long time

Interestingly, the body is constantly replacing older cells with new. It does this by autophagy and apoptosis. Skin cells are replaced by new skin cells and they have a life of only 3 weeks. The rest of the body does something similar but at different rates. Maybe the answer is to trick the cells into passing on “young” DNA messages instead of old.

On the subject of DNA, most people believe that their lifespan is dictated by their genes. While the genes have an impact, whether a gene message is switched on or off is determined by lifestyle issues. This is the study called epigenetics which is still in its infancy. Just because someone has a gene predisposing them to bowel cancer does not condemn them; if they adopt the correct nutrition, they can ensure that the gene is never switched on.

Though it is a tempting concept, living to over 100 years may be just a case of avoiding the top causes of death: cardio vascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and medical error. (The UK NHS admitted that there are 237 million medical errors per annum with thousands of deaths resulting.) Most of the fatal diseases can be avoided by correct nutrition.

Life expectancy has been increasing for many years but has remained the same in the last two. In some parts of the UK life expectancy is falling. One reason for the increase is the reduction of smoking. The most frequent reason for the decline or pause in life expectancy is given as the austerity resulting in poorer diets and reduced social care.

Of course life expectancy is different in each country.According to the Office of National Statistics (2017) life expectancy (from birth) is now:

Switzerland 81.5 years Norway 80.9 years

Japan 80.8 years Singapore 80.7 years

Sweden 80.7 years Iceland 80.6 years

Italy 80.6 years Spain 80.3 years

United Kingdom 79.2 years USA 76.3 years


Please note that Japan has discovered that a number of centenarians have simply disappeared off the map; they can no longer find them. One such person was found dead in his bed; clearly he had died years before but not been registered as deceased. This suggests that Japanese statistics may not be as good as reported.

People living longer has a large impact on governments because they cannot afford state pensions. The Guardian reported that the age for state pension in the UK is planned to increase to 68 years of age in 2037 and the government has floated the idea of increasing the age to 70 years.

It would be expected that there would be continual pressure for lifespan to increase but that is not always the case. There is little support for people who reach the upper ages. When researched, people say that they have a number of fears about getting older and may not even wish to live to 100 years. The main fears noted are:

  1. Loss of independence.

  2. Running out of money.

  3. Not being able to live at home.

  4. Constant pain.

  5. Loneliness.

  6. Fear of falling and being hurt.

It seems that people must have some “grit” and determination if they wish to live to a ripe old age. One of the key factors is not just being alive, but being healthy and alive.

Research among various sources reveals that there are a number of factors that can increase the changes of living healthily to 100 years. There are no guarantees. As a result, the following chart has been produced with a weighting for each factor. There is no scientific proof that this chart is correct but it does seem to represent the majority of research papers. To assess how much commitment a person has doing towards living longer, put a score in the right hand column for each item that applies. Regarding exercise, fasting and diet, only one score should be noted, not all of them.

  1. Exercise. This is important but should not stress the body or damage will be undertaken. Clearly appropriate daily exercise is better than weekly.

  2. Mediterranean Diet. Well known for longevity due to the fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil and red wine.

  3. 4 Day Fast. Excellent for retraining the mind and body, recycling old and dead cells and clearing out proteins from the brain and body.

  4. Timed eating. This is eating during a short window, maybe 4 to 6 hours and nothing in between. This is one of the best ways of losing weight and initiating autophagy.

  5. No eating before sleep. The brain shrinks a small amount during sleep and if unfed, the body sends blood to the brain. This, together with fluid in the brain helps clear out debris and proteins which helps prevent dementia.

  6. Ketone diet. An oil and fat based diet helps prevent Type II diabetes, lose weight and make the body healthy. Five days on and two days off is the best.

  7. Diet. Important but important not to be too rigid. There are no races in the world that are vegan so it is not a complete diet for everyone. Reducing red meat is important. Depending on the individual, cutting out milk products may help. Variety wins every time.

  8. Organic food. Reduce pollution and increase the quality of food; unfortunately probably increasing food costs.

  9. Olive oil. This should be regarded as one of the superfoods. Best taken without heating, for example with hot bread or salad. Try to consume a litre a week.

  10. Red wine. Contains resveratrol which is excellent for health. Only one glass a day; the second is not good.

  11. Correct body weight. There are VERY few old fat people. Most centenarians are slim and wiry and thereby do not stress their bodies. There is countless evidence that a calorie restricted diet increases lifespan.

  12. No medication. This means that the body must already be functioning fairly well. Also, almost ALL medications have side effects that are unwanted. Many are damaging and dangerous. Statins are the number 1 seller in the world but cause muscle wastage and potentially Type II Diabetes.

  13. Good Sleep. Underestimated; when the body sleeps the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and heals the body. Poor sleep leads to poor health. Remember that there is no correct amount of sleep; if depends on the individual.

  14. Plan to live to 100 years. People tend to live to what they expect. Thoughts program the brain so people should tell themselves what they want to happen.

  15. Social and family life. People with a support network live longer. It has been proven that married men live longer than single men.

  16. Purpose. Looking after the garden is simply preparing a plot to be buried in. Identify a REAL purpose in life and follow it relentlessly. People must be productive.

  17. Low Stress. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system that releases cortisol and adrenaline. This lays down fat and shuts off the healing system.

  18. Meditation. It has been proven that any form of meditation carried out at least weekly increases longevity.

  19. Low pollution. People who live in a city will struggle to obtain fresh air and clean environment. Relocate if needed.

  20. Danger Avoidance. People who live dangerously sometimes have accidents. Those who wish to live a long time should avoid dangers.

  21. Sun Exposure. Linked to vitamin D, sun is important to well-being as well. Sun burn must be avoided but 20 minutes a day is very healthy.

  22. No Retirement. For the unconscious mind, retirement mean end of life. For most men, retirement means a life expectancy of 5 years. Those who establish a new career and are productive live much longer.

  23. Health Awareness. Do not give responsibility of the body to a doctor. Take responsibility and check the health.

  24. Financial Security. Life without the funds to live in comfort can be miserable. Plan to live in comfort, so capital and pensions are important.

  25. Love of life. Life is not supposed to be a chore, it should be a pleasure to be extended as long as possible. Build in pleasure in every day.

  26. Independent Outlook.Statistically, those who are independent live a longer life.

  27. Ongoing Learning and Curiosity. Keep the brain active and never stop learning. Dig into everything and keep finding out more.

In Conclusion

There is no point in living unless it is enjoyable. There is little value to a life without health. Living to 100+ years rarely takes place without working at it. Those who coast along may have a long life but there are many more who make an effort and have a great time year after year.

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