There was a time when 100 years old was an impressive age that few people lived to see. But now, with advances in medical technology and better understanding of how to live a healthy life, 100 is becoming the new norm. In this blog post, we will explore what it takes to become a centenarian and live a long and healthy life. We will look at the habits of centenarians and find out what sets them apart from the rest of us!
100 Is The New Norm
Or is it? Why is it that some of us become centenarians and others fall short? Centenarians are people who survive to the age of 100. They are not insects with 100 legs. (centipedes)
So how do we get there? How can we all live to the ripe old age of 100?
Is Old Age Effected By Genetics?
Some would say that whether you live to 100 or not is predetermined by your genes. While it's true that genetics do play a role in how well we age, it's not the only deciding factor. Our environment and lifestyle choices are also major contributors to how long we live and how healthy we remain as we age.
What Are The Science Backed Habits of A Centenarian?
What sets centenarians apart from the rest of us? What habits do they have that make them so successful at aging? Here are some common traits found among centenarians:
- Balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables - a plant based diet
- Staying active and exercising regularly.
- No smoking
- Stress reduction
- Community or healthy social life
What Places In The World Do People Live The Longest?
Pack your bags! It may be time to consider moving to one of these places where people tend to live the longest. Here are some of the top contenders and they are all considered “Blue Zones”.
There are five locations considered “Blue Zones”. Blue Zones are identified as home to some of the healthiest and oldest people in the world. Researchers drew blue circles around these areas on a map and that is how they became known as Blue Zones.
Nicoya, Costa Rica
The Nicoyans, as well as the Costa Rican people, have diets filled with beans, corn squash and tropical fruits - and no processed food. They also spend a great deal of time outdoors and in this special Blue Zone, they have a guiding life purpose to stay spiritually and mentally strong to the age of 90.
Family and community are emphasized in Japanese culture and social support helps to reinforce healthy behaviors and lower stress levels. Okinawans call their tight knit social circle “moai”. This city has some of the longest-living women in the world.
In Sardinia lives the highest concentration of male centenarians in the world. Many are sheep herders who walk at least five miles per day to get their physical activity. They also have familial closeness and their diet is mainly plant-based. People living in Sardinia also have a genetic variant linked to extreme longevity called the M26 marker and that is passed down from generation to generation.
Loma Linda, California, US.
The US can claim just one Blue Zone; Loma Linda, CA. This city is filled with Seventh-day Adventists, a Protestant denomination. They avoid meat and eat whole grains, nuts and plenty of plants. They are all about community and live 10 years longer than most Americans.
Ikaria is an island in the Aegean Sea that has a long history of invasion by the Turks, Persians and Romans. Many call it the island of longevity. They are a proud people that invest in their community and the Mediterranean diet. They eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, fruits and plenty of olive oil. One in three Ikarians live into their 90s and are often free of chronic disease and dementia.
Each of these places have their own distinct set of traditions and lifestyle choices that help contribute to longer lifespans. If you highlight the three main habits or lifestyle elements, it is diet, physical activity and community.
The Focus For Longevity
If you are motivated to adopt some of these Blue Zone habits, maybe you can put away those moving boxes and stay put! Living to 100 years old is more achievable today than it ever was. The science and studies are very compelling that with positive changes to your life, you have the potential to add on the years! Becoming a centenarian is not just wishful thinking. If your goal is 100, start today with just one or two of these strategies and start counting!