Do you want to live to age 100?
Nearly 70% of people of all ages who were asked this question in a 2022 survey responded yes, they would like to live that long.
Most of us look forward to a long lifespan, but we also want to live those years in comfort and good health, free of chronic diseases and disabilities. In other words, what we really want is a long healthspan.
Lifespan and healthspan obviously go hand in hand. If you want to join the ranks of centenarians—people who are age 100 and older—you need to develop healthy habits for a long life.
Here are my top 10 tips for living to 100.
1. Eat Fresh, Organic Whole Foods
Food is your body’s fuel, but it is much more than a source of energy. A healthy diet with optimal amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients provides the raw materials needed to build and repair tissues and sustain good health.
Avoiding sugary, processed, packaged foods and eating fresh, organic whole foods is like putting high octane gasoline in your car to make sure it runs optimally. Doesn’t your body deserve the same care and attention?
2. Get Moving
Exercising is another healthy habit that promotes longevity. You don’t have to run a 10K or be a gym rat, but you should aim to incorporate walking or other activities into your schedule on a daily basis.
Thousands of studies point to the importance of movement and exercise in maintaining optimal health. Regular activity reduces your risk of weight gain, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Exercise also improves depression and anxiety and can even help stave off age-related memory loss.
3. Manage Stress with Self-Care
Life moves fast, and when you’re juggling work, family, and other responsibilities, it’s not unusual to feel frazzled at times. One of the best things you can do during busy, stressful periods is to slow down and tend to your own needs.
Get a massage or have an acupuncture session. Take a yoga, tai chi, or qi gong class. Meditate or practice breathing exercises. Bottom line, take care of yourself—so that you’ll have the energy and stamina to help take care of others.
4. Visit a Sauna Regularly
Sweating in the dry heat of a sauna is a great way to eliminate toxins from the body and, at the same time, support cardiovascular, mitochondrial, and immune health. Studies out of Finland—where sauna bathing is practically a national pastime—reveal that regular use is also linked with a reduced risk of death in older people.
To harness even more health benefits, alternate time in a hot sauna with cold therapy such as swimming, plunges, or soaks in cold water. Research suggests this combo turns on protective genes that promote longevity.
5. Sleep Like Your Life Depended on It
The quantity and quality of your sleep can make a BIG difference in how you feel. Poor sleep is linked with a host of health problems, from anxiety and depression to weight gain and increased risk of serious illness.
Getting enough restorative sleep is challenging for many people, but I urge you to prioritize working on your sleep. Your healthspan may depend on it.
6. Laugh & Smile
Smile and laugh whenever the opportunity arises. Even if you are having a bad day, find something to help you curl that upper lip upward, form a smile—and observe the positive physiological changes in your body and mind.
If you can muster up a laugh, all the better. A good belly laugh increases blood flow, relieves tension, and stimulates the release of “feel-good” brain chemicals. Regular laughter even has long-term brain and immune health benefits. And remember, sharing a smile or laugh makes it all the more valuable.
7. Fast Occasionally
Fasting is not the sexiest tip for a long, healthy life, but it can help you lose weight, detox, and feel young again. Why? Because fasting triggers autophagy. This is your body’s process for clearing out damaged cellular components so cells can function at their peak. Autophagy declines with age, and fasting is a proven method for increasing it.
Whether you forgo all food for several days every month or so, or adopt intermittent fasting—limiting eating to certain times every day—fasting has positive effects on your healthspan and your lifespan.
8. Express Gratitude
Studies have shown that expressing gratitude makes us happier and enhances our quality of life. Practicing gratitude boosts mood and makes it easier to deal with adverse experiences. It strengthens relationships and improves physical and mental health. Gratitude also inspires us to give more.
Make a concerted effort to express gratitude. This may include giving thanks for the sunshine, birds singing, and farmers who grow our food as well as family members and special friends. No matter what is going on in our lives, there is much to be grateful for.
9. Connect to the Earth
Grounding or earthing is a health-enhancing practice that involves walking barefoot on a lawn, beach, or cement patio. Direct contact with grass, sand, or concrete connects your body with the earth’s natural energy and allows you to soak up free electrons that are abundant in the ground.
These electrons neutralize free radicals in your body, which helps reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and pain. Grounding also helps restore balance and deepens your connection with Mother Earth’s energy.
10. Become the CEO of Your Body, Mind, & Spirit
YOU are in the driver’s seat when it comes to YOUR health. Take charge and be in control!
Today, there are around 97,000 centenarians in the United States, and that number is increasing every year. By 2060, a quarter of our population will be over age 65, and experts predict more than 600,000 of them will be centenarians.
If your goal is to live to 100, you need to adopt healthy habits to improve your lifespan and your healthspan—and you need to get started now.
There is no guarantee that you will make it to 100, but with a little focus and a plan, healthy aging is well within your grasp.
Live long and prosper!