Who knew that today about 450 people worldwide are over the age of 110, and many more have reached 100? No longer an anomaly, over 50,000 in the U.S. and 100,000 throughout the globe have celebrated a triple digit birthday! Our amazing aging neighbors are who we will become, and they have simple truths that ensure the test, or should I say, “best,” of time.
Enjoy an active lifestyle, and a healthy sense of humor
Jeanne Louise Calment, the oldest recorded human, lived to 122 years (France, 1875-1997), took up fencing at 85 and rode a bicycle at 100. When asked what she expected of the future she replied “a very short one!” Often infectious, laughter decreases stress, increases immune cells and triggers the release of endorphins, a potent cocktail of natural medicine.
Christiane Northrup, M.D. describes aging as the “chronic deterioration as we move through time”, with cumulative effects apparent later in life. However, it can begin as early as during our 20’s, when we move into sedentary lifestyles of sitting all day.
Since this is optional, why not change that life script, and turn the biological clock back? Set your phone alarm hourly, push away from the desk, take a brisk walk, have a mini dance party, get jiggy. And bring a good joke/cartoon/video clip to share over lunch. When asked by his wife where he’d like to be buried, 100 year old Bob Hope replied, “Surprise me”, ending a life of comedy with the perfect punchline.
Unlocking the Secrets to a Longer Life
Adopt good eating habits, reduce stress
Interviews with 50 of the oldest living humans (100+) conducted by photographer Jerry Friedman
reveal common diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables and absent over-consumption, alcohol and drugs. Despite credit of strong genetics as a 30% predictor, research conducted by Carl Eisdorpher, M.D., University of Miami Center on Aging, also underscores a diet rich with healthy foods with little overeating, alcohol and drugs.
Far from a purist, I do feel empowered when I eat mindfully, or dodge a sugar binge with an apple or banana .
Along with healthy eating, strong social networks comprised of family and friends can eliminate the stress factors of isolation, loneliness and depression. Friendships increase self-confidence, self-worth, help us cope with loss or trauma, and encourage healthy choices. Our social and family communities validate our existence, our values and sense of purpose.
Within a community, support keeps us optimistic, and benefits from our contributions. And because our ability to learn, practice and adapt optimizes the plasticity of our brains centenarians share that learning not only keeps us young, it inspires joy.
So, a diet of movement, laughter, good food, curiosity, and the kindness of love in friendship may pave our path through a century…sounds scrumptious!