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Among centenarians, one constant is that they’re often super active well into their 90s
In this episode of Everything Should Be Better , Tristin Hopper explains how you can join the centenarian club.
Watch the video and read the transcript below.
Whenever someone turns 100, it’s customary to ask them the secret of their longevity. Here are some of their answers: Drinking spiked espresso every day. Better sex through constant divorce. Cigars. Drinking three beers and a shot of whiskey every day.
This is obviously all terrible advice, so we dug up some hard science on how you can actually expect to live to your 100th birthday.
Rule number one: Be lucky
Yeah, sorry, you can’t really affect this, but it is kind of a big factor. Any centenarian today had to not be killed in World War II, not be killed in a mining disaster, not be hit by a car and not die of a whole galaxy of 20th century diseases, including measles, smallpox, polio, diphtheria and AIDS.
For every 100-year-old Canadian alive today, thousands upon thousands of their colleagues didn’t make it, and it wasn’t always their fault. Also, some people are just genetically better at living. When Keith Richards inevitably hits 100, that’s blind luck.
Rule number two: Be rich
Being super rich didn’t stop the reaper from taking Paul Allen at age 65, but there is a pretty clear correlation between wealth and longevity. Money means you have clean water, safe transportation, stable housing and easy access to good medical care.
Basically, the richer your country, the more likely you are to reach 100. But there’s some weird exceptions to this: South Africa and Thailand, for instance, both boast really high numbers of centenarians despite having lower per-capita income than Mexico.
Rule number three: Don’t be fat
Here are some pictures of people celebrating their 100th birthday. They come from all races, religions and backgrounds, but they share one thing in common; they’re all pretty thin. The Japanese island of Okinawa is famous for its ridiculously high rate of centenarians, and it’s generally suspected to be because they have a fantastic diet. They eat small portions, lower calorie food and a whole whack of vegetables and fish.
Rule number four: Have an active social life
The famed Georgia Centenarian Study tracked down a bunch of centenarians in the U.S. state of Georgia and then tried to figure out how they had all gotten so old. Some of the factors that kept reappearing were extraversion, a full social schedule and a higher likelihood of engaging in volunteer work. Basically, people are being kept alive by bingo and church bake sales. It’s a similar deal in Sardinia, a region of Italy with an uncharacteristically high number of centenarians. Most elderly Sardinians still live with family, and they’re able to keep plugged in to the vibrant social life of their village. Socialize at least six hours a day, and you’ll be on your way to 100.
Rule number five: Have a reason to live
At a certain point, some people just get bored of life. For instance, here’s conservative author William F. Buckley at the age of 80: “I’m tired of life. I’m utterly prepared to stop living on.” Unsurprisingly, he was dead two years later.
Among centenarians, one constant is that they’re often super active well into their 90s. Britain’s Bill Frankland was still a working doctor at age 105. American Mabel Sawhill started a catering company at age 70 and was still running it at 102. You may also have noticed that the British royal family seems to live forever: These are people who never run out of stuff to do. In Okinawa, this concept even has a name: Ikigai, which roughly translates to “reason for being.”
Last tip: If all else fails to make you a centenarian, you can also just … lie.
The oldest person in history is generally recognized to be France’s Jeanne Calment, who officially died at 122 years old. But lately, compelling evidence has emerged that she actually died at a more conventional age of 99. The theory is that she assumed her dead mother’s identity in the 1930s in order to dodge the French estate tax, and then one thing just kind of led to another.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019