Do you want to know the secret to a long and happy life? The secret is … there is no secret. Research shows that there are many factors at play when looking at those who have lived through an entire century. Genetics play a role, but environment and lifestyle choices make a difference, too. That means if you want to be a centenarian, there are
many actions (big and small) you can take to increase
Here are seven suggestions you can implement today.
“PATL” stands for “Positive Attitude Towards Life” and is a measurement tool that has been used in several studies on longevity. The term encompasses everything from laughter and optimism to relaxed behavior and extroversion. High levels of this trait are attributed to a large number of centenarians.
In other words, people who have positive attitudes are proven to live longer. It won’t always be easy, as life can throw you against the ropes sometimes. But as long as you get back on your feet and make sure to laugh a little, you could be in for an extended, more enjoyable life.
This does not mean you need to spend hours in the gym every day or train for marathons. It just means that if your routine includes light exercise on a daily basis, you will likely be healthier and, in turn, could live longer. Whether you choose yoga, Pilates, daily walks or just getting a good stretch in before bed, you’ll significantly increase your chances of joining the 100-plus club. It’s also said that playing games can improve longevity. Because when you swing that badminton racket, you’re not just working up a sweat — you’re having a good time and making new friends.
When it comes to diet, make healthy eating a lifestyle, not a temporary thing. Stick to these five rules:
If you drink alcohol, stick to one to two glasses a day.
Eat until you’re almost full but not tired.
Eat your smallest meal in the evenings.
Eat mostly veggies and beans.
Eat three- to four-ounces of meat five times a month.
Volunteer. And volunteer often. Not only will you be exercising, helping others and making new relationships, you can also increase your life expectancy. Working toward a higher cause and helping others increases your chances of joining the centenarian club significantly.
The benefits of doing good don’t stop there either. People who regularly volunteer have seen an increase in life satisfaction and well-being while also experiencing a decrease in depression.
Join a community
Human connection is imperative to your well-being. Whether it’s family, friends, a religious group or your next-door neighbors, belonging to a community can make you an overall healthier person. Some doctors say that community involvement is the single most important factor when it comes to longevity.
Social activities that also include exercise have double the benefits. Going for group walks, taking classes, and participating in team sports are all extremely valuable. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure you’re always maintaining and developing relationships along the way.
Try not to worry so much
Meditation and prayer are known links to longevity. It’s no surprise that taking time out the day for some deep breaths and reflection can increase life expectancy. But what happens when you let stress rule your life? Studies indicate that when high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, are released into the body, it can weaken the immune system and even create heart problems. Take a moment to relax, find your center and focus on the truly important things in your life.
Though this secret is close to the first one, it encompasses a different set of values. It’s really about treating yourself, taking leisure time to sit a bit and staying active within your community. It’s okay to be a little bit selfish every once in a while. It’s okay to get a massage or eat a second cookie. What’s important is to live as though every day is a remarkable one and to approach every experience with
an open mind.
There’s not a single secret to this long-life thing, but there are definitely some ways you can improve your lifestyle in order to get the most out of your time here on earth. And if you’re looking for a place where all seven of the secrets listed above are built into your daily routine, stop by one of our communities for a visit.
Learn more about increasing your longevity and the benefits of a senior living community by visiting Brookdale.com