At Leaves Personal Care, we believe in living life to the fullest! We’ve searched the web to read interviews with different centenarians to find their top tips to living to 100. Here’s some wisdom from our amazing contributors, Mary Vaccaro, Lucia DeClerk, Jayne Burns, Angie Torrisi, Sister Andre, Arlena Labon, Elizabeth Francis, Jessie Gallan, Henry Danton, Helen Reichert, Maria Branyas Morera, Jeanne Calment, and many more.
Eat a balanced diet.
Nutritionists and scientists tell us that eating a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and undoubtedly there is benefit to this! However, many centenarians also swear by not being too strict, and enjoying an occasional glass of wine or a beer. Andrew Slavonic, 101, credits his longevity to a daily glass of Coors light at 4 o’clock every afternoon. However, Dan Buettner, who studies areas where high concentrations of the population live to 100, indicates that research supports limiting red meat, eating mostly plant-based foods, and living an active lifestyle.
Speaking of keeping active, 100 year old Henry Danton, who was a famous British ballet instructor says, “I really, absolutely believe exercise the answer to everything.” We often think of exercise exclusively as workouts but Angie Torrisi, 103, also reminds us that simply keeping moving is essential for long life. For example, she recalls walking to school, walking to church and walking up the five flights of stairs to her apartment, as well as playing basketball as a girl. Pilates-loving Ruth Coben, 100, also adds the importance of staying stylish (wink). Watch Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
Get enough sleep:
Kermit Hongo who died in 2003 at the age of 116 was known for sleeping two days straight and staying up for two days straight. Health experts recommend a more traditional approach of sleeping 7-8 hours per night. Sleep rids the body of cortisol, boosts your immune system, and improves your mood.
Centenarian, Angie Torrisi, shares “I’ll tell them they have to be in a good frame of mind, and they have to be kind, compassionate and be grateful.” Louise Signore, 107, said, “I think the secret of 107 is I never got married. I think that’s the secret.” Angie Torrisi adds, “If you sit around and do nothing, stupid thoughts will go through your mind. You have to keep busy doing other things.”
Make time for activities you enjoy and that help you relax and talk to a therapist or counselor if you’re struggling to manage stress on your own.
Many, many 100-year-olds credit their faith and church involvement with their longevity. Ruth Hilliard, 106, says she still recites scripture on a regular basis. Elizabeth Francis, 110, said, that her long life was “a blessing from the Lord. He’s the one keeping me.”
Of course, many centenarians are not necessarily people of faith. Harry Allingham who lived to 113, said the secret to his longevity was “cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild women.” Very few experts would agree with Harry’s methodology, but many recommend the value of community. Jayne Burns, who tried retirement several times, kept returning to the routine and engagement of part-time work, even at a 100-years-old she still enjoyed working at JoAnn Fabrics. She enjoyed being with people and found the younger store associates kept her active and youthful. Experts agree, social interaction can help reduce stress, boost your mood, and provide a sense of belonging.
Experts agree that smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death. If you smoke, quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health. However, Jeanne Calment, a French woman to lived to be 122 smoked until she was 117, and Dorothy Howe from the U.K. smoked 15 cigarettes a day, so genetics obviously play a big part in longevity, not just our healthy lifestyle choices.
Avoid Toxic people:
Similar to avoiding stress, experts agree that avoiding people who are negative, critical and unkind will help you live a long life. Maria Branyas Morera, 115, lived through both world wars and two worldwide pandemics, the 1918 flu pandemic and the Covid-19 pandemic, attributed her long life to being emotionally stable, not living with regrets and staying away from toxic people.
Reaching 100 years old is influenced by various factors, including genetics and environment, but there are lifestyle choices that can significantly increase your chances of living a long and healthy life. Remember, these are just tips, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and to find a healthy lifestyle that you can stick with in the long term.
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