Every time I hear stories about people who lived over 100, the first question I ask myself is: Is it really attainable? Or is it just one of those stories that are yet to be discovered?   At this day and age, most young people are now susceptible to chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, and Imminent Heart Attacks, just to name a few.  Due to sedentary lifestyle and obesity, the life expectancy of people is now shorter than before.

However, as proven by people who lived over 100, also known as, centenarians, longevity is attainable.

What is a Centenarian?

Centenarians, as the name implies, are people who lived 100 years and beyond. Scientists have discovered places such as Sardinia Italy, Islands of Okinawa Japan, Loma Linda California, Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Ikaria, Greece, where centenarians are active and healthy!  As a matter of fact, there’s a village in Bapan, China, called “The Longevity Village,” that shows significant number of residents, who prove, it is possible.

Further and as affirmed by United Nations, 2.2 million people are expected to live over 100 years by 2050. Another fact was written by Wikipedia, an estimated 316,600 centenarians were recorded last 2012, worldwide.

Now that we know it is possible, the next question is, how do we that? These 8 tangible secrets to attaining longevity will surprisingly change your perception in life.

No, it’s not about exercise nor genes.  Know these 8 secrets to living longer from people who lived over 100 years.

8. Keep an active lifestyle

Just because you’re not in the gym, doesn’t mean you’re already compromising your health.  For centenarians, like Benjamin Goldfaden, 100 (September 16, 1913 – March 25, 2013), who played basketball during 1940’s, keeping an active lifestyle means constantly moving.  Cardiologist John Day, M.D., of Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, proved it as well when he visited The Longevity Village in 2013. He noticed that apart from being a rural place, most of them are NOT exercising but are physically active doing routines like farming, walking to reach places, etc.  Keeping an active lifestyle isn’t a secret.  After all, it is a must to further life expectancies.

7.  Keep calm and spend time with your family

In this rat-race world, everyone’s time is compromised by bills and other major responsibilities. In short, life is now shorter – but NOT for these centenarians.  For them, spending time with the family is pivotal. Another study done by Harvard Health Department affirmed that having quality relationships matter. It was also proven that if someone is happy and content with their respective families and/or relationships, they have lower risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to low-satisfying relationships, such as bad marriages, etc.

6. Quit smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages 

Often heard but hardly practiced. However, Anthony Mancinelli (101), tagged as the oldest barber in the world and Ebby Halliday (103 last March 2014) proved that having a pair of healthy lungs can be a stepping stone to longevity!

Fun fact: Jeanne Calment (February 21, 1875 – August 4, 1997) of France, who lived 122 years, was an exemption! She started smoking at the age of 21 and stopped at 117 years old.  She must be the real wonder woman, you think?

5. Be socially active 

Being sociable doesn’t necessarily mean being at a bar drinking with friends.  Their definition of it is having a strong social relationship with friends by going out for a walk, small talks over a cup of coffee, etc.  As witnessed by Dr. Day, people in the Longevity Village are actively participating in their community and family by sharing their expertise when it comes to family and child rearing.  A data collated from one study which examined 309,000 people show that lack of social interaction increased the risk of premature deaths up to 50% or similar to someone smoking 15 cigarettes a day and has an inactive lifestyle.  Therefore, having a sense of purpose is a significant reason for attaining longevity.  Thus, stay sociable, reach out and stop being a hermit.

4. Leave stress alone

Sadly, stress has now become a part of our lives.  It is colloquially known to be the culprit on developing chronic diseases.  However, according to Dr. Leila Denmark (February 1 1898 – April 1, 2012), a Pediatrician, also tagged as the oldest and longest medical practitioner in America, who lived for 113 years, eating right and doing what you love is the essential key to longevity! It may be easier said than done, but obviously, it can be done!

3. Laugh out loud if you can

“Laughter keeps you healthy,” said Bel Kaufman, 101 (May 10, 1911 – July 25, 2014), an American Teacher and Author of the bestselling novel, Up The Down Staircase. Amazing as it is, laughter is indeed and proven as the best medicine. After all, it’s free and inexpensive. So, forget breaking wind, laugh out loud if you can!

2. Maintain a healthy diet

Has been the mantra of these centenarians.  Although, some didn’t follow this rule, but the majority of them did.  The secret to their longevity is keeping a well-balanced meal every day.

1. Lastly, enjoy and live life to the fullest

Carpe Diem, or “seize the day” as what all of them said.  They just took it one day at a time and enjoyed every moment of it.  The simpler your life is, the better.  Samuel Ball, who lived for 102 years, had a simple yet powerful advice: Find a good partner, enjoy two scotches a night and lastly, be easy going. If you follow his advice, you will definitely embrace longevity.

Secrets are meant to be kept, but, if it will promote longevity, more should be revealed.  These secrets are not hard to do, after all.

Centenarians are  the truth behind the statement: “We can get the best of both worlds.”

Written by Anna Yalung, MD

Anna Yalung, MD

Regenestem Manila’s Head Dermatologist Anna Yalung, MD is an accomplished physician with more than ten years of experience in providing excellent skin care, treatment, and on-point diagnosis to patients here and abroad.Just like her husband, Dr. Eric Yalung, Dra. Yalung does not stop finding and adapting new methods and technology that can enhance the services she provides to her clients. One such example is her foray into cell-based anti-aging medicine.Honed in this new development through several intensive trainings abroad, Dra. Yalung is ready to add more expertise to Regenestem Manila’s already packed portfolio of services.Her mission — to make people feel happy in their own skin, in the easiest and most effective way.

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