Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
Centenarians are a diverse group of people. Some lead very unhealthy lives continuing to smoke and drink lots of alcohol whilst also following a terrible diet, while others are tea total and live healthy lifestyles. However, one significant factor that stands out amongst the majority is the fact that they all kept their mind and body exercised. Experts agree that even small amounts of daily exercise can make a big difference to how long you live.
I have therefore detailed some useful information which could help play a role in achieving your 100th birthday and beyond.
All centenarians have been active throughout most of their lives, but many continue to do some form of physical activity well into their advanced years. With differences ranging from weight training, walking, dancing, yoga, pilates and Tai Chi being common. Centenarians also understand the importance of being physically active in improving mental alertness.
Clearly diet can make a big difference too. In Japan where they have the 2nd highest number of recorded centenarians, and the highest number per 1000 population, they eat mainly wholegrains, vegetables, fish and plenty of soy-based bean curd or soy foods packed with isoflavones which are known to fight cancers and prevent heart disease. They also tend to eat little to no meat and dairy, but lots of fresh water and green tea. Interestingly, studies have also demonstrated that eating small amounts of food over the course of the day has been shown to extend lifespan.
Now your are exercising and eating better, don’t forget your social interactions. Studies in Okinawa have proven that keeping a good social circle of friends and avoiding isolating yourself such that you become lonely and depressed also plays a key role. These studies also showed centenarians are typically in caring communities where they are respected and not shut out. Other factors identified include seeing the good in people and life, and learning not to worry about the things you can’t change. This all helps prevent you becoming too stressed and attain a lower stress lifestyle which makes a difference. Adding a sense of purpose, which can come in the form of spirituality where prayer eases the mind of stress and problems, is also factored in.
A variation in the gene FOXO3A, which is known to have a positive effect on life expectancy, is found more more frequently in centenerians and possibly explains why some make the century despite indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle. For most of those that have reached the ripe old age though, they have got there by living their lives incorporating most of the above information. They lead good wholesome lifestyles, but enjoy Nature’s little pleasures and indulge when needs be.
So, set yourself a goal to live to your 100th birthday party, by making small changes everyday. Who knows, you may live to 120!