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100 Ways to Live to 100: Small Steps You Can Start Today That Will Add up Tomorrow

Aug. 29 2023, Updated 5:13 p.m. ET

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Want to live to 100? Now’s your chance!

The good news is genes have a 10% influence on how long you'll live. The rest is up to you.

Look at the facts: When the 20th century kicked off, the average lifespan was a depressing 31 years. These days, it's nearly triple, and that's all because of small lifestyle changes that make a big impact. Here are 100 simple secrets to living a long and healthy life — but don't dally because the sooner you start the better.

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1. Sleep nude.

During sleep, we cool down slightly and release hormones that repair the body. running at a lower temperature also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to weight gain.

2. Laugh at life.

A survey of centenarians showed they consider laughter an important part of aging well. Take their advice — have a good chuckle!

3. Snuff out cigarettes.

This is one of the most effective things you can do. Quitting cigarettes can add 10 years to your life.

4. Take up yoga.

Yoga is known for its relaxing effects. Being calmer leads to less physical stress, lower blood pressure and better breathing.

5. Enjoy grapefruit.

In older adults, one in five falls results in serious injuries like broken bones. Grapefruit juice can help slow bone loss and improve bone density, keeping you healthy and strong.

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6. Be diligent.

Conscientious people are more likely to make healthy choices, helping them be more successful and live longer.

7. Be nicer.

Find a reason to smile! A 2012 study on aging by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University found a connection between a sunny outlook and a longer life.

8. Eat your veggies.

Vegetarians have a lower risk of premature death than carnivores. so pile your plate with veggies and reap the benefits.

9. Take the fast track.

People who fasted one day a week for 10 weeks were shown to kickstart their longevity gene, SIRT3, which produces proteins known to protect brain cells from stresses that contribute to energy loss.

10. Accentuate the positive.

People who don't dread growing older lived more than seven years longer than their depressed peers, according to a study and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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11. Turn off the tube.

Researchers at the University of Queensland claim every hour of TV chops 22 minutes off your life, and folks who watch TV for six hours a day died five years before people who didn't.

12. Be a newshound.

Follow the news — in ways that keep you off the couch. A survey of Italian adults found that news conscious people were also healthier eaters.

13. Stand up for yourself.

Standing desks might seem like the latest craze, but existing data shows that sitting for less than 3 hours a day may give you an additional two years.

14. Live abroad.

People in Japan live longer than folks in the U.S., and The Lancet says Spain, Italy and Australia citizens aren't far behind. Maybe an international change of scenery is exactly what you need.

15. Take a walk.

Walking is the easiest exercise you can do. Carmelo Flores Laura, the world's oldest man at 123, claims he owes his longevity to regularly taking a stroke, saying, “I walk a lot — that's all.”

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16. Enjoy tomatoes.

Brightly colored fruits and veggies, like tomatoes, contain antioxidants that fight the nasty effects of UV rays and may even prevent sunburn.

17. Move to paradise.

Want to stay stateside? Hawaii's citizens lived 10 years longer than Mississippi's. What a beautiful place to spend those bonus years!

18. Couple up.

A Duke University Medical Center study revealed that married Baby Boomers lived longer than their single pals.

19. Marry younger.

A spouse who's your junior may make you feel less old than you are and help you stay healthy and active.

20. Talk it out.

Brigham Young University studied married couples and found that the more they argued, the worse their health.

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21. Go nuts!

Nuts eaters have a whopping 39% lower risk of death than those who pass up the nutritious snacks. Walnuts are the best of the bunch, giving you a 45% lower risk.

22. Toss takeout.

People who cook at home and don't scarf down takeout were 47% more likely to be alive and a decade than those who order in.

23. Don’t pass on primping.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo discovered that attractive people lived longer than their less attractive peers by an average of seven years. So keep up your appearance.

24. Calm down.

A low resting heart rate was a predictor for longer life and middle-aged and elderly men according to Danish researchers.

25. Get high.

A 2011 study by the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that 20 counties with high life expectancies were well above sea level.

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26. Persevere.

Is study revealed that Holocaust survivors lived longer than those who immigrated to Israel before Nazi rule, leading researchers suggest that “post traumatic growth” helped them find more meaning in life.

27. Be spiritual.

According to WebMD, 84% of surveyed 100-year-old said connecting with their spirituality is important to aging healthfully.

28. Take a coffee break.

Rich and antioxidants, coffee can lower your risk of diabetes, some cancers and liver damage. so drink up!

29. But not too much!

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings revealed people who drink more than four cups of coffee a day had a 21% higher risk of death than those who skipped the java.

30. Pick a pet.

Dog and cat owners live longer than those without animal companionship. In fact, certain dog breeds can boost your mental health!

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31. Finish school.

Harvard University found people who attended school for at least 12 years lived longer than those who didn't graduate high school — and a 2012 Centers for Disease Control study said people with a bachelor's degree lived up to nine years longer than those who only finished high school.

32. Volunteer.

People who give back are rewarded not only with good feelings. They tend to have lower blood pressure too.

33. Eat blueberries.

Antioxidant-packed blueberries may protect brain cells from damage — and help prevent the formation of protein clumps seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

34. Be a city slicker.

Urban dwellers live longer than those in rural areas. Some researchers think it's due to lower rates of cigarette use and lifestyle related health problems.

35. Take a nap.

Short, regular naps can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease. Those who indulged three times a week had a 37% lower mortality rate.

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36. Eat salmon.

Older people with high levels of Omega-3s lived two years longer than people whose blood had lower amounts of the fatty acid that's commonly found in salmon.

37. And other fatty fishes!

Tuna, mackerel and sardines also pack an omega-3 punch — and their healthy fats can help reduce joint pain too!

38 Focus on fond memories.

Dwelling on a traumatic childhood moment could make you die earlier than people who don't think about such damaging experiences.

39. Restrict your calories.

Okinawa, Japan, is known for its large number of 100-plus citizens, who aged well by not overeating.

40. Slash your sugar.

Reducing the amount of sweets you eat may help cut your risk for diabetes and its disabling complications.

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41. Eat spinach.

This leafy green is packed with Omega-3s and folate, lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.

42. Don’t fear death.

Being honest about your mortality will help you make smarter decisions and lead to a longer life.

43. Take the stairs.

If you're sedentary, you can get all the exercise you need by swapping the elevator for the stairs — a move that lowers your chance of early death by 15%.

44. Make friends.

People who had social support from coworkers tended to live the longest, say researchers at Tel Aviv University, while 9-to-5-ers were 2.4 times more likely to kick the bucket.

45. Wash your hands.

A 2005 World Health Organization study states that hand-washing could save more lives across the globe than any medical intervention.

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46. Eat clean.

Sparingly snack on processed meats like bacon, and you'll reduce your risk of dying from heart disease.

47. Care for your smile.

Brushing and flossing are more important than you think. A healthy mouth reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia.

48. Smile.

A 2010 study compared the smile intensity of baseball players, finding that those who didn't grin live to a mere 72.9, well those who did survived seven years longer.

49. Live with purpose.

Researchers at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center said that people who believed they had a reason to live had a 30% lower rate of cognitive decline.

50. Go jogging.

A Copenhagen City Heart Study found that moderate jogging may add six years to your life. But don't go overboard. Runners who logged more than 20 miles a week lost the longevity perk.

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51. Eat broccoli.

Researchers discovered that people who ate cauliflower and broccoli tend to live longer, due to the foods high vitamin C and nutrient levels.

52. Sleep tight.

Getting less than six hours of shut-eye increases your risk of dying by 10%. Shoot for seven or eight hours for the maximum benefit .

53. But don’t be a snoozer!

People who regularly log more than the recommended amount of zzz’s may face a 30% higher risk of early mortality, according to international researchers.

54. Make bank.

Having more cash means a better quality of life, so cut back on careless spending. You'll get more for your effort than just dollars and cents.

55. Pray.

The Journal of American Board of Family Medicine said that those who worship weekly can add up to three years to their lifespan.

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56. Sing.

A study at the University of Gothenburg and Sweden claims that those who sing and a choir reap the same calming benefits as those who practice yoga.

57. Exercise for 2.5 hours.

The World Health Organization says 150 minutes of exercise a week could add four years to your life.

58. Live healthy.

Exercising, eating wholesome foods and reducing stress will protect your body from aging on a cellular level.

59. Hit the gym.

All exercise is great, but activity that gets your heart pumping will do your body the most good.

60. Have kids.

Studies show that becoming a parent can decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer but two children are plenty

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61. Go for a girl.

A 2006 study of people living in rural Poland showed that having a daughter added 74 weeks to the lifespan of fathers.

62. Take a vacation.

A Framingham Heart Study claimed that men who went on regular getaways lived longer than those who didn't.

63. Hit the water.

The International Journal of Aquatic Education and Research said that swimming can halve men’s death risk in comparison to walking or running.

64. Join club Med.

Eat a Mediterranean diet, rich in fats like olive oil and fish, and increase your chance of living longer by 20 percent.

65. Fill up on fiber.

People who ate enough fiber — 38 grams a day for men and 25 for women — had a lower risk of dying than those who didn’t.

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66. Work.

Men who reached much older ages were found to have fulfilling jobs and kept working at least part-time through their 70s.

67. And work hard.

Diligent workers lived up to three years longer than lolly-gaggers, according to The Longevity Project.

68. Have sex.

Romance is good for you. Men who get in the mood once a month or less have a 45% higher risk of heart disease than those who get their groove on two or three times a week.

69. Bike.

French cyclists in the Tour de France lived longer than non-pedaling peers, according to the European Society of Cardiology Congress.

70. Skip supplements.

If your doctor advises taking vitamins for deficiencies, go for it. but leave random supplements on the shelf — a Copenhagen University study said they can be more hurtful than helpful.

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71. Go Greek.

Folks on the Greek island of Ikaria regularly live past 90. Researchers think their secret is a daily dose of Greek coffee, resulting in better blood vessel functioning.

72. Stay engaged.

The elders of Okinawa know the secrets to living a long life and claim that one is keeping their minds sharp with games and other mental stimulation.

73. If marriage isn't in the cards, have an active social life.

Authors of The Longevity Project found that many single women thrive. “Women were able to rely on friends,” stated one of the researchers.

74. Explore.

Shake up your routine and go somewhere new. Covering foreign territory will stimulate your brain and possibly prevent dementia.

75. Get creative.

A study of U.S. veterans claims that those displaying creativity had a reduced mortality risk of 12%.

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76. Live blue.

Thirteen states with the lowest life expectancy were found to lean Republican in presidential elections.

77. Socialize.

Regular meetups with friends and family may do as much for lengthening your life as lowering your blood pressure and cutting your cholesterol.

78. Chill out.

Taking time out of your busy schedule to meditate will help all sorts of conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure and depression.

79. Know when to walk.

If your job is stressing you out, quit. Being unhappy at work can lead to heart disease. Save your sanity and your life.

80. Drink alcohol.

Good news — booze can be part of healthy living. Moderate drinking may prevent heart disease, but men should stick to two to four drinks a day and women one to two.

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81. Banish the belly fat.

Fat that gathers around your middle is the most dangerous for your health, releasing toxins that lead to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

82. Sip green tea.

This tasty beverage contains polyphenols, a micronutrient that blocks molecules known to trigger arterial plaque buildup, a cause of heart attacks.

83. Stop colon cancer.

Colon cancer is almost entirely preventable if it's caught in time. If you're over 50, talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy.

84. Drink apple juice.

A study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease said that drinking two glasses a day may break up plaques in the brain related to dementia.

85. Spice up your life.

Turmeric, which gives mustard its sunny hue, is known for its anti-inflammatory action.

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86. Be a realist.

Having a good attitude counts for a lot, but keeping both feet on the ground leaves you better able to deal with life's setbacks.

87. Eat yogurt.

Look for yogurt with “live and active cultures,” which are probiotic and will boost your immune system.

88. Get checkups.

Regular preventative care may help you catch life-threatening conditions, like diabetes, before they result in serious complications.

89. Skip soda.

Consuming sugary drinks may age your cells an extra four years — and even diet colas are suspect. Their high levels of phosphorus may weaken your bones.

90. Stay pale.

Using sunscreen and avoiding sunburn will lower your chance of developing skin cancer (and wrinkles).

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91. Snack on sweet potatoes.

High in flavonoids and fiber, these vegetables make up 60% of the diet of older men and women in Okinawa.

92. Go to bed.

If you normally get less than seven hours of sleep, go to bed an hour earlier. You may see a measurable drop in your blood pressure, which will lower your risk of stroke.

93. Trawl your family tree.

Analyze your genetic info. By knowing what diseases you're predisposed to, you can seek early medical intervention.

94. Dance.

Dancing has mental, physical and social benefits — so get moving and boogie your way to better health.

95. Eat smart.

You may be used to set meal times, but try eating only when you're hungry. You may find it easier to keep your weight stable.

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96. Yay for K.

Kale, collard and mustard greens are high in vitamin K, which has been shown to slow cognitive decline.

97. Adapt.

A study from Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research said that coping and adapting to stressful situations was important to aging well.

98. Cut your cholesterol.

Swedish researchers studied a group of 100-year-old men, and one thing they had in common was healthy cholesterol levels.

99. Take control.

A University College London study said that people who felt like they had control over their lives had a 30% lower chance of death than those who felt the least.

100. Think small.

It's never too late. Making tiny positive changes now — and sticking to them — can lead to a longer life!


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