Five Hacks for Living to 100

From a story on by Mike Allen, Erica Pandey, and Jim VandeHei headlined “5 hacks for living to 100”:

The way we’re wired has a lot to do with whether we’ll live to 100.

But it’s not the only factor — good news for those of us with ill-fitting genes.

Zoom out: As the oldest and fittest of the baby boomers age into triple digits over the next 25 years, and medicine finds new ways to treat and cure heart disease and cancer, more of us than ever before will see 100.

Why it matters: Our behaviors — things like diet, exercise and sun exposure — account for 75% of what gets us to 90, and our genes play a 25% role.

Beyond 90, the script flips and genes play a decisive role in taking us the rest of the way to 100, Axios’ William J. Kole writes in his new book, THE BIG 100: The New World of Super-Aging, out tomorrow.

Kole — a veteran reporter, editor and foreign correspondent — interviewed dozens of longevity experts and centenarians, including a vibrant 112-year-old. He offers these five life hacks for making the most of what we have to work with.

Chill out. Toxic stress is the enemy of longevity. Stress triggers a release of hormones that take energy away from our cells’ longevity-promoting activities, says biologist Martin Picard of Columbia University. If there’s a way to ease or avoid stress, do it.

Keep moving. That’s supercentenarian Herlda Senhouse’s best advice, and she should know: At 112, she dines out regularly, attends church and plays the slots at a casino outside Boston. Even something as humdrum as a little brisk vacuuming, experts say, can benefit our bodies and our minds.

Get your Zs. In a culture that pushes us to wring every last ounce of productivity from every waking hour, many of us neglect good sleep hygiene. The American College of Cardiology says healthy sleep habits boost life expectancy by 4.7 years for men and 2.4 years for women.

Stay connected. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently proclaimed loneliness and isolation a public health crisis, and the National Institute on Aging says their impact is like smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Think positive. The world’s oldest living person, American-born Spaniard Maria Branyas Morera, insists she’s 116 because she always looks on the bright side. It’s more than wishful thinking: A study of nearly 160,000 U.S. women ages 50 to 79 found that those who scored highest for optimism were 10% more likely to live beyond 90.

The bottom line: Although there are steps we can take to optimize our shot at 100, living past 105 requires hitting all five numbers in the genetic lottery plus the Powerball, Kole writes.

Speak Your Mind