Living to 100 isn’t all that rare anymore. In fact, the number of U.S. centenarians has grown 65 percent since 1980 with more than 53,000 centenarians living in the United States according to the 2010 census (330 of those have reached super centenarian status of 110 or older). Is there a secret to living a long and healthy life? Here’s what centenarians have to say.

Life Lessons from Centenarians

United Healthcare’s 100@100 survey found these common themes.

  1. All About Outlook – Approximately 61 percent of centenarians view themselves as being positive with a full quarter believing that a positive attitude is a key to staying healthy.
  2. Move It or Lose It – Nearly half of centenarians interviewed say they walk or hike at least once a week. Of those, about a third exercises to strengthen muscles or for stress relief. Cardiovascular exercise indoors and gardening to keep active are also popular.
  3. All You Have to Do Is Smile – Laughing and having a sense of humor is also important with 84 percent of centenarians saying that doing this is easy for them.
  4. Age is Just a Number – Approximately 60 percent of centenarians say they don’t feel old and the rest said they didn’t start to feel that way until they were in their 80s.
  5. Appreciate Your Youth – On average, centenarians felt most attractive at age 31, most energetic at 34, happiest at 44, healthiest at 46 and wisest at 49. However, they felt most content overall at age 56.

Blue Zones Back it Up

You may have heard about the Blue Zones or places around the world where people live longer, specifically into their 100s. Blue Zones locations are:

  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Okanawa, Japan
  • Loma Linda, California, United States
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Nicoya, Coast Rica

Based on research in these places, some common characteristics for longevity have been found which are very similar to the ones listed above including exercise, stress relief and family. Additional lessons from centenarians in Blue Zones include:

  1. Know Your Purpose – Having clear values, passions and talents can add seven years to your life.
  2. The 80% Rule – This rule suggests you cut 20 percent of your calories with evidence based practices such as eating a big breakfast, eating with your family, using 10 inch plates and stoping when you feel 80% full.
  3. Love Your Plants – Eating a diet that’s heavy on beans, nuts and green plants are common among these centenarians.
  4. Have a Drink – This research has found that moderate drinkers (two to three drinks per day only) outlive non-drinkers.
  5. Have Faith – Attending faith-based services four times per month can add four to 14 years to your life.
  6. Find Community – Make sure you have a social circle that includes healthy-minded and supportive people to increase longevity.

Speaking of Community

There’s no easier place to practice these life lessons than in an active senior living community. They support this aging research too and are focused around keeping residents as active, independent and socially connected as possible. You’ll find monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events and outings along with amenities such as pools, fitness centers, restaurant-style dining and housekeeping and laundry services. It’s this convenient and carefree lifestyle that has more and more people moving to active senior living while they are completely healthy!

For more information on how you can benefit from these lessons on longevity and health in active senior living, contact us today to schedule a visit →