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Are There Secret Habits of Those Who Live 100 Plus?

Updated on June 9, 2016


Life is brief. Though many people wish to live long, they hardly live 67 years or so. With life comes death; we cannot escape from death. No man is immortal. Living long is a dream for all. But in reality most people live up to sixty- eighty years only.

There is always exception to the general rules in everything. The same is in the case of longevity. There are a few people who live 90’s or even 100 years healthily. The United Nations (UN) estimated that there were 4, 55,000 living centenarians worldwide in 2009 and nearly half a million centenarians in 2015, more than four times as many as in 1990.

Are there any secrets for their longevity?

There are a people who managed to live more than hundred years of age. Several factors may play role in longevity. But studies of those who lived hundred years or so have shown that they differed from others in three important ways; three habits out of simple behaviors.The three factors that differentiated people with successful ageing are proper and healthy diet, regular exercise and physical activity even during their later years, and continue involvement in family and community life.


"Sleep and eat well and you will live a long time." – Misao Okawa, who lived to age 117, according to The Telegraph

"One shouldn't eat too much in the evening, it may cause sickness." – Stanislaw Kowalski, 106 years old, in the Daily Mail

Eating a healthy and regular diet will ensure healthy body and mind, which in turn lengthens one’s life. Daily calorie intake should also be low to moderate levels. We should maintain our intake at 1200 to 3000 calories per day. Vegetarian diets are in many ways closer to the ideal health diet than non-vegetarians.

Foods to eat

  • Fresh fruits of all types
  • All vegetables
  • Whole grains such as rice, wheat, oars
  • Natural sugars like honey
  • Natural water
  • Herbal teas
  • Fresh juices

Foods to avoid

  • Meat, fish and eggs
  • Junk food
  • Canned food
  • Animal fats
  • Fried food
  • Stale food
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cold drinks

To live longer and healthier, we should consume more leafy green and root vegetables, fresh milk and fresh fruit. Vegetarian diets are in many ways closer to the ideal health diet than non-vegetarians. We should eat low to moderate amounts of meat and animal fat. Our daily calorie intake should also be low to moderate levels. We should maintain our intake at 1200 to 3000 calories per day. We should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. This will provide our body cells with ample fluid. Moreover, this will help our kidneys in fleshing out waste products. Eating a healthy and regular diet will ensure healthy body and mind, which in turn lengthens our life.

The reality in the present world may be contradictory. There seems to be increasing trend of poor dietary practices. It commonly observed that people eat junk foods and snacks between meals, which are not good for the waistline and healthiness of diet. Uncontrolled foods may lead to obesity.

High level of activity

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Physical activity is perhaps the most important factor contributing to longevity. This may take various forms such as exercise, taking a stair, walking to buy at stores, gardening, cleaning the campus, cleaning bath tub / toilet, wiping floor etc.

An active lifestyle ensures that the body gets the exercise it requires while improving appetite and digestion.

Regular exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to make sure that one’s mind and body get revitalised. Physical exercise helps in maintaining physical and mental health. Exercise acts as stress buffer. It also helps to trim the body and discipline the mind.

Thus, in order to live longer and healthier, regular physical activity should be an integral part of our life styles. It should be continue well into old age. A brief vigorous exercise is also effective for healthy living. If individuals cannot do rigorous physical exercises, they should at least go for walking, jogging, skipping etc depending on their health status. Moderate but consistent exercise is equally effective for healthier and longer life.

In modern societies, life values and jobs tend to increase sedentary life. Most people lack time and skills for exercise. Laziness, time pressure and ignorance about the body system are also responsible for lack of exercise. The end result is weakening of body and sickness and eventually premature ageing.

"I've got to get my hour in every day." – Ida Keeling, 101 years old, in the New York Times

Involvement in family and community life

A centenarian is a person who lives to or beyond the age of 100 years.

A super centenarian is a person who has lived to the age of 110 or more.

The United Nations (UN) estimated that there were 4, 55,000 living centenarians worldwide in 2009.

The United Nations estimated that there were 316,600 living centenarians worldwide in 2012.

As of July 2013, there are only 30 people in recorded history who have indisputably reached super centenarian.

The world was home to nearly half a million centenarians in 2015.

Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe in 2050.

In order to live longer, we should be actively involve and continue to involve in family and community affairs till old age. Social support, which is the existence and availability of people on whom we can rely, is positively related with health and well-being. It helps to provide protection against stress.

Enlarging social networks in an effective way of coping with life problems, and lengthens one’s life. Participating in various groups activities of community life such as celebration of festivals, joining clubs and organizations, volunteering for charity, etc. is found helpful. Through such social networks, one can get an unconditional expression of approval, share secrets, provide new experiences or develop trusting relationships.

Involvement in grand parenting helps the aged satisfied their personal and emotional needs. Grant parents can serve as important role models to their grant children and other kids. Such roles are found to be emotionally self-fulfilling.

"Family … makes me happy." – Susannah Mushatt Jones, who lived to age 116, as reported by NPR

Will longevity be a gift or a curse for you?

No, doubt a lifetime lasting a century is an extraordinary gift. But you have to be ready for it. Without preparation the gift, it can quickly become a curse.

“Longevity isn’t just about getting older, it’s about being younger for longer. People need to start thinking about how they are going to put their extra time to good use”. - Professor Lynda Gratton

“The key to a happy and successful 100-year life will rest in how we use the extra time we have. A longer life means we will all have to work longer. Retiring at 65 will not be an option unless we are able to save 25% of our income per year. That’s a long stretch; periods of rejuvenation, re-training and re-creation will be necessary.” - Professor Andrew Scott.

There is no secret for longevity. By observing well known simple rules, old age can be a much happier and fuller life. A person can remain vigorous, active and dignified until 80’s or even 90’s. This if quite possible if one’s life style is habituated and characterized by balanced diet, regular physical activity and active involvement in social and community life up to later years of life.

Moderation, attitude, gratitude ... that's it.

— Lauretta Taggert, at 100 years old, according to USA Today


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