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Live to be 100
Not very long ago, the idea of living to be 100 seemed like a pipe dream. But now there are 100,000 centenarians in the United States, and half a million worldwide. A lot of living to be 100 is about luck and good genes, of course. But there are some things we all can learn from people who have lived for a century or more. Even if you are a long way from 100, you can incorporate many of these ideas into your life now--and improve your odds of making it to a ripe old age.
Forbes recently gathered 10 secrets of centenarians. They are:
Eat wisely. The largest number of centenarians in the world live in Japan, where their diet is heavy on grains, vegetables and fish, and light on red meat and dairy. Eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables can keep you healthier longer.
Don’t drink soda. Not even diet soda. Instead, drink plain water, and plenty of it. Coffee and tea in moderation are also good. Alcohol in moderation is fine, and many centenarians enjoy a drink or a glass of wine once in a while.
Treat yourself. Even when you eat healthy, that doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you like. There is nothing wrong with the occasional cookie or burger. The key is to make them occasional treats, rather than a regular part of your diet.
Keep moving. Get up, get dressed, and get out. Do whatever you enjoy, but do something. And get some exercise, including stretching.
Keep walking. Many centenarians take daily walks. Walking is good exercise, and it is good for your joints and bones. It also gets you out and about, seeing people and doing things.
Work your brain. Do the crossword puzzle or the Sudoku puzzle in your morning paper. Watch Jeopardy or Cash Cab on TV. Keeping your mind active will keep it sharper for longer.
Value your relationships. Married people live longer than unmarried people, and people who have strong friendships also live longer. That’s partly because a spouse or a friend looks in on you and helps you take care of yourself, and partly because loving people gives you a reason to keep living. In a study of centenarians, 82 percent said they talk to friends and family daily.
Do work you love. You spend a lot of your life working. Doing a job you don’t like adds a lot of stress to your life, and stress is bad for your health. On the other hand, doing work you find fulfilling helps you stay more engaged in the world.
Be spiritual. You don’t have to belong to a formal church, but pray or meditate on a regular basis, and consider a reality beyond your own. Doctors say spending at least 15 minutes a day in prayer or meditation can help you live longer.
Keep moving forward. Don’t fret about what you should have done differently, don’t nurse your regrets, and don’t stick your nose in other people’s business. People who live long and fulfilling lives almost always have a philosophy that focuses on the future rather than on the past.