Jeanne Louise Calment was a French supercentenarian who met Vincent van Gogh as a young girl; she survived the First and Second World Wars; she was around for the first landing on the moon; and she witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. When the woman from Arles in Provence passed away, she was 122 years old; she had smoked for 96 of those years and managed to outlive both her daughter and grandson by several decades. But just what was her secret?
Well, scientists and researchers worldwide have long been on a mission to discover the secret of old age. One thing is certain: there are many factors that have to work together to reach the age of 100. It is believed that genes determine life expectancy to around 25 to 30 percent. This means that the 70 percent or so depends on other external factors and lifestyle habits.
The following 10 signs will show you whether you may be among the select number of individuals who will get to live a super long life.
1. You carry your weight in the right place
Several studies that have examined over 100-year-olds around the world have shown that a few extra pounds on the hips are not necessarily a bad thing. Hardly any of the super old subjects passed on small indulgences such as chocolate or alcohol — what’s important is that everything is consumed in moderation. However, if fat collects around the stomach, you should be careful because of the increased risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes. Unbalanced diets can also reduce life expectancies.
2. You’re quick on your feet
The University of Pittsburgh measured the pace of several thousand, pretty fit retirees. Those who walked briskly through life had a significantly higher life expectancy. Researchers attribute this to the fact that people who move quickly tend to be more agile overall. It’s safe to assume that a daily walk strengthens the heart and cirulation. Furthermore, if you’re quick on your feet, it’s usually a sign of determination and decisiveness.
3. You’re stubborn
There is a region in southern Italy knows as Cilento, where people are particularly old. A team of scientists who visited the area discovered that the residents weren’t particularly active and didn’t eat especially healthily. What the researchers found to be more decisive where certain character traits: stubbornness and diligence, among others. Those who knew what they wanted weren’t easily dissuaded. What the study could not establish is whether the inhabitants of Cilento could live an even longer life, if they also led a healthier lifestyle.
4. You have lots of friends
Men and women who are involved in large social networks tend to live longer and remain active and healthy right into old age. Brigham Young University proved this to be the case after it carried out an investigation. The already mentioned region of Cilento is testimony to this fact, as it is characterized by a good coexistence. Having friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances around is important for a number of factors: it helps to overcome negative experiences more easily, it reduces stress and strengthens the joie de vivre. What seems to be of little consequence is whether you actually see or just talk to your friends on the telephone.
5. You’re well-off and educated
A few years ago, the Berlin Institute for Population and Development caused a bit of a stir with a survey it conducted. The researchers claimed that high earners and better educated people in developed countries such as Germany live up to 12 years longer than those who are less privileged. And the reason for this difference: financial concerns increase perceived stress levels, which can lead to mental problems and illnesses, in addition to lack of exercise, obesity and smoking. By contrast, well-off individuals not only tend to pay more attention to their health, but those who also have a higher level of education keep themselves mentally fit for longer. A healthy curiosity supports overall physical well-being.
6. You’re socially engaged
A lot can be gained from giving back to the community — looking after the sick and disadvantaged has many benefits. Various surveys indicate that very old people above average often cared for others or still do. Researchers believe that caring for the sick and needy not only keeps aging individuals mentally and physically active but also helps keep the social aspects of their lives intact. Of course, the positive effect only works as long as the responsibility the individual has for his or her fellow human beings does not become a burden. To look after another person, whether relatives or strangers, can be exhausting and can make people become ill themselves if they are not careful.
7. You take naps
Are you a sucker for taking afternoon naps after lunch? Then you have something in common with the squad of 100-year-olds. Whether in southern Italy, Japan or California — daily naps are synonymous with the habits of people who live to a very old age. Taking time out helps to soothe the nerves and renergize. However, individuals who snore are often worse off for it as regular snoring disturbs the recovery phase during sleep and can even lead to illnesses.
8. You eat lots of vegetables
Okinawa Prefecture in Japan is famous for being the island where people live to be the oldest. The prefecture is considered very poor. Scientists believe the secret behind the longest life expectancy in the world is the diet: every inhabitant consumes around 2 lb of vegetables per day. Poverty in the region is not culturally considered frustrating, so the vegetables can be enjoyed in peace and quiet and without the worries of the world!
Today, @hustleandkale was invited to the @nationalkaleday event to celebrate #kale. I ate a #kale salad, a #kale cookie, and drank #kale juice and learned things about #kale like how over 500 babies were named Kale in the U.S. in 2008 and th
9. You’re a positive thinker
No matter where you go or who you ask, all the 100-year-olds have one thing in common: they are all optimists. Their glasses are always half full and life is worth living. What differentiates the 80 to 90-year-olds from the centenarians is the pronounced will to live and trust in their own abilities. Optimism prevails over pessimism.
10. You’re a woman
While healthy eating, exercising and the right attitude towards life are important factors in achieving long life, it is a commonly known fact that women have a longer life expectancy than men almost everywhere in the world. Men are, by and large, mostly to blame themselves: they smoke more, drink more, eat fewer vegetables, behave more riskily and go to the doctor less frequently. In addition, men take care of others less often than women and they have greater difficulty maintaining social contact. Women are therefore proof that lifestyle has an influence over age.
One’s a smoker and lives forever, the other leads the healthiest of lifestyles and dies young. So is it all just a coincidence? The studies conducted by scientists and researchers are no guarantee that you will live a very long life as there are other important factors at stake such as genes and further influences. But the statistics make a clear argument that if you want to grow old in a healthy and contended manner, a positive attitude towards yourself and the rest of the world is a must.