Top 8 Habits To Borrow From Centenarians
Our life expectancy is only 20% dependent on genetics and 80% on our lifestyle. And the good news is that at virtually any age, we can adopt healthy habits that will dramatically increase our chances of celebrating our centenary in great physical and mental health. Moreover, there are regions on our planet where there are more centenarians than in other places.
These are not the richest and most prosperous areas, and centenarians are by no means millionaires who have the latest medical advances at their service. However, they had healthy lifestyles that prolonged their lives. In this article, we will discuss the habits that you should adopt from centenarians.
One of the most important factors in longevity is a balanced diet. No one is able to sit on a diet all his life, limiting himself in everything, experiencing constant hunger, and drowning out the desire to eat a piece of cake. The point is different, namely, the conscious development of a stable habit of healthy eating.
It may not work out right away, but if you can feel the change in health after a month or two, habit formation will be much easier. Moreover, centenarians, as a rule, do not categorically limit themselves in anything. Many of them allow themselves desserts at dinner. And yet they manage to live longer; here is how they manage to do so:
1. Giving Up Alcohol
Though moderate consumption of alcohol can be beneficial to your well-being, excessive consumption can be the opposite. People who develop a dependence on alcohol tend to abuse it, which causes serious health problems. Substance abuse and addiction are the major causes of early death in the US.
According to statistics, veterans compared to other US populations have a shorter life expectancy, all thanks to widespread alcohol addiction and mental health problems among them. This is why the government provides them with a special Veterans Affairs (VA) life insurance facility that covers most of their health expenses. Unfortunately, though having such a facility, many of them still avoid getting addiction treatment.
Untreated co-occurring disorders lead to heart attacks and, in the case of veterans, suicide. Thus, it is evident that if you are suffering from alcohol addiction, you really need to give it up to live a longer life. If you don’t get the treatment, eventually, it will kill you.
2. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
It so happened historically that in the regions of longevity, in almost all regions, people used to eat a little meat in the food. Their diet was normally based on vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. According to scientists, vegetables and fruits should make up at least half of your diet.
When choosing vegetables for your menu, you shouldn’t count the calories but the number of colors. The more varied the color palette of vegetables on your plate, the healthier it is for your health.
3. Homemade Food
Yes, this is the best way to lose weight and keep it at a healthy level. When you cook your own food, you always know exactly which foods you are using. You will not add preservatives, colorings, or flavor enhancers to food.
You will determine the size of your portion yourself, and it will most likely be smaller. Thus, cook your food at home as it is healthier and much tastier than the food you will order from any nearby restaurant.
4. Eat Small Portions Of Food
Those who live long never overeat. The Japanese say that you need to gorge on no more than 80%. How to get used to this? You can do this by patiently and slowly reducing the daily portion until a portion meets the definition of necessary and sufficient.
You can just change the dishes in the house. Instead of large plates, use small ones, and instead of wide low cups, use tall narrow glasses. Experiments show that the larger the portion or package, the more a person is prone to overeating, which is invisible to himself.
It is not for nothing that in Japan, it is customary to serve many small bowls with different food and seasonings on the table. A cramped table creates a sense of abundance, although very little is actually eaten.
Other Lifestyle Habits
Nutrition, while essential to maintaining health for long life, will not provide it on its own. It is important to develop other lifestyle habits as well.
5. Proper Sleep
It is believed that over the years, a person needs less and less time to sleep. Maybe it is so. But in any case, sleep should be sufficient, at least 7-8 hours a day. And it’s important to sleep at the right time, i.e., at night. It is useful to go to bed before midnight, and preferably at the same time. The body loves a routine.
6. Movement lengthens life
If you look at centenarians, you will notice that almost none of them start actively attending gyms or running marathons in old age (although there are such examples). They just keep doing what they’ve been doing all their lives.
For example, you find them tending the garden, herding the cattle, walking, mowing the front lawn, and walking the dog. You can get the required amount of physical activity even without gyms and trainers. But if there is a desire, then a visit to the pool or yoga classes will, of course, be beneficial.
7. Intellectual Activity And Balance Training
According to statistics, Alzheimer’s disease more often affects those who prefer passive pastimes on the couch in front of the TV. Another danger is injuries from falls and coordination of movements that deteriorate with age. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the brain active and train the sense of balance.
To maintain intellectual activity, you can find a hobby for yourself, from playing chess to learning foreign languages. And simple exercises to develop balance are enough to include in your daily physical activity program.
8. Be Socially Active
Doctors are sure that to maintain health, it is important to maintain social ties and stay socially active. Withdrawal, limited social circle, and loneliness can significantly shorten life. Therefore, communicate, meet with friends, go to exhibitions, and go on trips. It doesn’t matter what you do; the main thing is to maintain and expand social ties.
We mentioned the habits of those who lived to 100 years; you can also learn from their experiences and add more years to your life.