Living to 100 years old may seem like an impossible feat, but in actuality, there's really not much to it. If you ask any centenarian what the secret to a long life is, they'll probably tell you a bunch of things that you already know. It's just a matter of willpower—are you willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to see it through?
Those who cherish their lives and seek to live them to their fullest could definitely benefit from the following secrets. While a majority of them are science-backed, there are some that require just a little bit of faith. Perhaps achieving longevity has a lot more to do than just understanding biology.
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#1 Exercise Daily
Don't underestimate the power of exercise. Many people operate on the notion that if they look and feel healthy, then they are healthy. Obviously, that is far from the case—you may feel fine, but you never really know what's going on inside your body or how fast it may be deteriorating. Exercise helps maintain the vital systems of our bodies performing at peak levels. According to a study by Gremeaux et al., habitual exercise promotes a good weight, prevents diabetes, eliminates depression, and reduces your risk of memory loss.
#2 Eat A Balanced Diet
Be mindful of what you put into your body. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for health, the idea of "Everything in moderation" is science-backed and reliable. Take some time to do some research and calculate the nutritional values you require. Make sure to drink your water and to eat your vegetables. Avoid excessive meat intake (since it can elevate your risk of heart disease) and junk foods. Once you are able to establish a good level of self-control, you'll find that eating right isn't so difficult after all.
#3 Drink In Moderation
It's common knowledge that too much alcohol is bad for you, but did you know that a moderate amount of it every day can actually help you live longer? New research from the University of California suggests a link between moderate drinking to a longer life. The study found that drinking two glasses of wine or beer a day contributed to an 18% decrease in a person's risk of early death. Such value exceeded the percentage decrease contributed by exercise! Good news for all you wine and beer lovers.
#4 Minimize Stress
Stress can have a negative impact on one's health. Physiologically, it promotes the production of cortisol, a steroid hormone that can accelerate aging and damage the brain in excessive amounts. Living a simple life will do wonders to relieve your stress and keep your cortisol levels at bay. Ever wonder why most centenarians come from small, quiet towns like Okinawa, Japan or Sardinia, Italy?
#5 Get Enough Sleep
Just like stress, lack of sleep can throw your hormones out of whack. Many people do not get enough sleep a night. Often times, we prioritize other things over our sleep because we'd just rather do other things than shut down for a full seven to eight hours. But sleep is essential for slowing down the body's deterioration, so make sure to get an adequate amount of shut-eye every night.
#6 Make Friends
It may seem farfetched, but making friends can help extend your life. A meta-analysis of 148 studies showed that people with stronger relationships had a 50% increased chance of survival. Generally speaking, living a long life is about being happy, and when you have a solid support system, it's a lot easier to stay happy.
#7 Stay Young At Heart
Many centenarians believe that if you stay young at heart, you'll live longer. While such is far from scientifically-proven, it makes sense—if you live your life not acting your age, you'll never let your age be a source of stress in your life. Don't take things to seriously; just take it day by day and enjoy your life to the fullest.
#8 Simply Believe
According to a survey (as reported by Chatelaine), almost a quarter of centenarians believe that their longevity is due to their unwavering faith. Maybe it really is all in the mind—if you believe you'll live long, then it will happen.