Want to live to be 100? Get moving and be social

The world's oldest living human, 114-year-old Eunice Sanborn, died on February 2. What was her secret to old age? Nonstop activity and flirting, she reportedly said. Popular health blog Blisstree posted a report on the health secrets of supercentenarians - those who are 110 or older - on February 6.

In 2000, the United Nations estimated that there were more than 180,000 people over the age of 100 throughout the world, a figure that will increase to 3.2 million by the year 2050. Blisstree cites the Gerontology Research Center, which reports 85 people age 110 or older in the world today (80 of them are women).

Besides being female, a few other factors can play into your longevity - the most essential being good genes. Last year a massive genetic study of people who lived for more than 100 years found dozens of new clues to the secret of aging. The study, published in Science, found that people who lived to extreme old ages had one of 19 different gene profiles, and tended to be unusually healthy, free from the diseases of aging, such as heart disease, cancer, and dementia, until well into their 90s.

While we can't control our genes, a few things you can control include lifestyle habits, such as enjoying the companionship of your friends and family and getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day, experts say. Blisstree also suggests "loading up" on resveratrol (an ingredient found in Japanese green tea and red wine) and other antioxidants found in fresh fruits, veggies, and dark chocolate. 

Also, don't eat so much. Consume a balanced and nutritious diet of only 1,600 calories a day instead of the average 2,000.

Reader's Digest magazine also recommends complaining less about pain and discomfort and being able to shrug off setbacks. Stay intellectually engaged and be creative. Religion can also play a vital role in living longer, reports the magazine, as can being an extrovert.

Read the Blisstree article. 

Or check out an interactive feature in The New York Times on centenarians: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/10/19/health/20101018-centenarians-voices-photos.html

Take a quiz that calculates your longevity: http://calculator.livingto100.com/calculator/age

Watch a clip with advice from American centenarians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRi8GSg2cd4

 

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