1. Live an active life, both mentally and physically. You don’t have to be an exercise nut, but keep moving. Walking, golfing, swimming– anything at all is good. Implement a stretching program to maintain your flexibility and lift weights to build muscle and prevent osteoporosis.
2. Stay married. Numerous studies indicate that married people live longer than single people. There’s the old joke that it just seems longer for married people, but in reality it seems to help.
3. Maintain your ideal weight. Being overweight will definitely limit your chances of becoming a centenarian and is likely to make the journey a slow and painful one.
4. Drink moderately and don’t smoke at all.
5. Have good genes. Extreme long life seems to run in families and may be based on common genetic and environmental factors. If you have a centenarian sibling, your chances of living past the century mark increase greatly. (Of course, you’re probably pretty old already yourself.)
6. Eliminate unnecessary stress as it shortens your life. Finding satisfying, meaningful work is likely to contribute to a long life, and certainly does to having a life you enjoy. If you’re retired, do something that gives purpose and value to your life. See 14 Balance Home and Work and 16 Set Goals.
7. Develop close and respectful relationships with your friends and loved ones. This may actually be harder than living for 100 years, but it’s a big help if you can manage it.
8. Live simply (see 15 Live With Less). Huck Finn probably lived to 100 because he understood that today is what counts, fine clothes are itchy, and money is a burden.
Stay away from boring or depressing people. Even 100 years is too short a time to waste. There’s fun stuff to do. Get going!
Calculate your life expectancy at LivingTo100.com.
Activities that challenge your brain and require social interaction, such as bridge, chess, music, educational courses or micromanaging your children’s lives, are also essential.
Avoid dwelling on negative or upsetting events. These thoughts can trigger physical responses, such as adrenaline output, that take a toll on the body over many years. A positive attitude can both lengthen your life and make it more pleasurable