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When your favorite music is being played in the elevator you’re probably a senior or on your way. Want to make it all the way to 100?

At 20, that’s 80 years off, at 80 that’s 20 years off. Maybe you just want to live long enough to spend all your money without a cent leftover.

 

Scientists predict that by the year 2050 the number of North Americans that will reach 100 or more will be in the millions. That’s a lot of people driving in the passing lane with their turn signal left on.

 

If you are 70 right now you could certainly be in that distinguished group. At 100 kidnappers won’t have much interest in you but you can be assured that a lot of people will find great value in your wisdom and experience.

 

Making it to 100 is not a slam-dunk of course; it depends on how well you look after yourself. So what does it take? There are certain behaviors that consistently rise to the top whenever Centenarians or aging experts are interviewed.

 

Aside from good nutrition and family genetics what else contributes to a long life? In no particular order here are 7 ways to help get you there.

 

  1. Quit smoking. If you’re reading this article you probably don’t smoke anyway but just in case you do, quit now. If you’re under 30 stopping will bring you down to the same degree of risk of disease as non-smokers. If you’re over 50 you will certainly reduce the risk but some of the damage is already done so be very vigilant about your other health behaviors.

 

  1. Well, that was a no-brainer, but seriously take your exercise seriously. Walking will pretty much do it but you have to do it regularly and with purpose. If you run or jog, even better. Three times a week for half an hour will increase hip flexibility, strength and aerobic power. You’ll lose all those over the next decade if you don’t exercise at all.

 

A study from Denmark found that of all types of retired athletes, weightlifters maintained the greatest muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass is a great debilitator as we age so the evidence clearly points at strength training as a way to keep it. Even starting later in life women in their 50’s and 60’s saw significant increases in bone density.

 

  1. As we get older our bodies become less efficient in absorbing the nutrients from the foods we eat so why not help it out a little. That assistance can come in the form of a vitamin gummy or pill. Topping the list of recommended supplements from leading researchers are: calcium to help build strong bones; vitamin D to aid in the absorption of calcium and the prevention of osteoarthritis; and vitamin E to boost your immune response and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

 

  1. Keep your mind active, and that doesn’t mean binge watching Netflix. Try Sudoku, crossword puzzles, cards and computer games. Research backs this up showing that people with active minds suffer less dementia and depression.

 

  1. Sleep, but just enough. We need about 8 hours of sleep a night. One study found that after following more than a million Americans for six years people who slept eight hours a night had up to 13 percent increased mortality over those who slept seven hours. Those who slept only four hours had a risk of death that was as much as 17 percent higher. The lesson here is get your ZZZ’s.

 

  1. Get a pet, and we’re not talking about a goldfish or hamster, it’s got to be a cat or a dog. You’re more likely to walk a dog, and pets just become great companions that help you forget your aches and pains.

 

  1. Lastly, and maybe as important as anything else mentioned so far, have a network of friends. Friends keep you physically and mentally active as well as being there for you if depression is an issue. You can also borrow money from them as they get older and they’ll probably forget.

 

So, there you have it, follow these 7 tips and you’ll be well on your way to living to 100.