“Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement,” says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. The Chianti region of Italy, which has a high percentage of centenarians, has a different take on leisure time. “After people retire from their jobs, they spend most of the day working on their little farm, cultivating grapes or vegetables,” he says. “They’re never really inactive.” Farming isn’t for you? Volunteer as a docent at your local art museum or join the Experience Corps, a program offered in 19 cities that places senior volunteers in urban public elementary schools for about 15 hours a week.Source
Be a creature of habit. Centenarians tend to live by strict routines. eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is another good habit to keep your body in the steady equilibrium that can be easily disrupted as you get on in years. “Your physiology becomes frailer when you get older,” explains Ferrucci, “and it’s harder for your body to bounce back if you, say, miss a few hours of sleep one night or drink too much alcohol.” This can weaken immune defenses, leaving you more susceptible to circulating flu viruses or bacterial infections.Source
Be less neurotic. It may work for Woody Allen, who infuses his worries with a healthy dose of humor, but the rest of us neurotics may want to find a new way to deal with stress. “We have a new study coming out that shows that centenarians tend not to internalize things or dwell on their troubles,” says Perls. “They are great at rolling with the punches.” If this inborn trait is hard to overcome, find better ways to manage when you’re stressed: Yoga, exercise, meditation, tai chi, or just deep breathing for a few moments are all good. Ruminating, eating chips in front of the TV, binge drinking? Bad, very bad.Source
The Beatles weren’t the only ones who thought, “All you need is love.” A 108-year-old in Ohio who fostered about 50 children has a similarly heartwarming message. . . . Arlena Labon recently celebrated her 108th birthday and shared the mantra she’s lived by her whole life. “Just love one another, baby. Treat one another good. Cause I love everybody and will help everybody that I can. So that’s what we have to do.”Labon has spread that love over the years by fostering about 50 children. She never had biological children, but dedicated her time to offering the foster kids happy lives. She also made sure they received an education. “I gave them what I didn’t get, I was a dropout, but I thank the Lord I’m doing all right.” Keep spreading the love, Arlena.Source
Keep your mind and body active.
Living 100 years means lots of time on your hands, which means one must learn to fill up the hours in the day with meaningful, engaging or at least productive activities. One retirement community in Rhode Island is home to a whopping six centenarians. Several of them have one thing in common — they keep themselves busy. They’re exercising daily, whether it’s going for brisk walks in the fresh air or diligently hitting the indoor gym. Others swear by hobbies like reading — all things which keep their bodies and minds in motion. And they all stay social.Source
Samuel Bender, 100, is still quite the gym bunny. Bender likes to keep fit with a variety of exercises, including swimming, and also credits a happy 73-year marriage (and good food) for his long life. . . . Another resident, Elsa Zopfi, is still spunky as ever at 104. She still gets her hair dyed and says she doesn’t like to go overboard these days when it comes to fitness. Zopfi’s main form of exercise is walking as much as she can. Robert Kenyon, 102, is said to be an avid reader and tries not to think too much about how old he is. But even with their differing interests, there’s one similarity between the three. They are all said to have a great sense of humor and they all make sure to stay social in their community.Source
Coffee is a daily ritual in blue zones areas, as well. Sardinians, Ikarians, and Nicoyans start their days with a cup, lightly sweetened without cream. In addition to a daily cup of coffee, blue zones centenarians drink water, tea and wine.Source
A key takeaway from a new book on how to eat and live like “the world’s healthiest people” is that longevity is not just about food.
The people who live in the Blue Zones — five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S. researchers have identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world — move their bodies a lot. They have social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors. They take time to de-stress. They’re part of communities, often religious ones. And they’re committed to their families.Source