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4 Ways to Increase Longevity

July 27, 2011

Want to live to be 100? How about 110? Supercentenarians are people who live to be 110 or older, and their numbers are increasing. Researchers have studied shared qualities among supercentenarians, and have found that they embodied the following characteristics throughout their lives, even into their older years—which may be responsible for their extraordinary longevity. Those characteristics are (via Dr.Weil.com):

Being physically active. Even as you get older, daily physical activity should be a priority. Modify your routine to incorporate small steps, such as daily walks, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking up hobbies that involve exercise, such as gardening, playing tennis or hiking.

Being positive. Maintaining an optimistic outlook is important to managing stress and preventing related health issues such as heart disease. You can easily train yourself to start looking at the glass as half full. Begin with some simple self-reflection and meditation, and use humor for coping with negative thoughts.

Being social. A network of family and close friends is vital to optimum health. You can enjoy the benefits of a well developed social life by spending time with people who make you happy, joining community groups or clubs, volunteering, and participating in support groups.

Being spiritual. Regardless of your religious affiliation (if any), feeling a connection with nature, a higher being or purpose cultivates spirituality, and is an important part of graceful aging.

(The oldest living woman on record? French woman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. Calment was known for allowing herself one glass of port and one cigarette a day, and for liking good food and wine, including cakes and chocolate, which she ate every day. At the age of 120, she famously remarked that the most important thing in her long life was: “I had fun. I am having fun.”)

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