More and more people are living to a 100 years old or more. Even better, they’re healthy and happy as they hit the century mark. Here’s how you can do the same.
Researchers have given new clues on how to live to the age of 100. They found that how we feel about ourselves and our ability to adapt to challenges in life may be just as important (or more so) than certain health factors. Thus, living to 100 may be very much influenced by your mind.
The investigators used data from a U.S. centenarian study to measure the psychological and social factors, as well as genetics and health, of people who lived to their triple-digit years. They looked at 244 people over 100 years of age, between 2001 and 2009. In these people, the research illustrated that critical life events and personal history, along with how people adapt to stressful situations and cope with them, are vital to successful aging.
As it turns out, your perception of what is happening to you is very important. Researchers found that centenarians’ feelings about their own health, well-being and support systems were stronger predictors of survival than things like blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Personality also determined how well the centenarians reacted to life stress and change. Healthy 100-year-olds were more open and conscientious, while less healthy individuals were more neurotic. Someone confronted with a stressful situation can either find a quick emotional solution or ruminate on the problem. It’s clear what the best route is.
They also found that moving into retirement homes made a person more likely to get less exercise. A decrease in physical activity accelerates a decline in health. Exercise, even at quite an advanced age, is still important for the human body. Doing whatever you can do, with the advice of a doctor, is an excellent way to keep living well.
Although still rare, centenarians are a growing segment of the population. There were 50,454 in 2000, but by 2050 that number may be over 800,000. Greater disease-fighting therapies are certainly part of the reason, as well as an overall greater knowledge of how to remain healthy. Women still live longer than men, a phenomenon that appears around the world. That is a question the researchers intend on answering next.