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The 7 Habits of Centenarians
Last Updated: 04/18/2015

Centenarians (folks who reach 100 or older) cite exercise, social connections and a full-night’s sleep as keys to a longer life.

New research looks at centenarians and baby boomers, asking the former about the “secrets of aging success” and evaluating whether the latter are taking the necessary steps to celebrate their 100th birthday.
  1. Stay Connected. Large majorities of both centenarians and boomers (89%) say they talk to or communicate with a friend or family member almost every day.

  2. Laugh. Nearly as many centenarians (80%) as boomers (87%) admit to laughing or giggling nearly every day.

  3. Eat Right, Pray, Exercise. More than 80% of centenarians say they eat nutritiously balanced meals almost daily compared to 68% of boomers. Similar number of folks say they pray, meditate or engage in some type of “spiritual” activity (67% centenarians, 60% boomers), and more than half of each group claims to exercise almost every day (51% centenarians, 59% boomers). According to a Danish study of Centenarians, your odds of hitting 100 increase by eating lots of fruits and veggies (adds five years), working out five days a week (adds two to four years), and reducing on stress (may add up to six years)

  4. Get Some Sleep. Sleep deprivation is a habit belonging to boomers. A mere 38% get eight hours or more of sleep daily compared to more than 70% of centenarians. Try to get your 7 to 8 hours a night to the repair of many cells in the body, and potentially add two years to your lifespan.

  5. Relax. While 76% of boomers say they work at their job or hobby almost every day, only 16% of centenarians say they still do.

  6. Stay Physically Fit. Asked which is the most important to maintain as one ages—mental, physical or emotional health—boomers (50%) and centenarians (40%) alike choose physical health. Similarly, both say that physical health is the most difficult to maintain as they age (74% boomers, 59% centenarians).If you stay active and keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it keeps your organs healthy, there's less need for medication, and it will enable you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle. The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.

  7. Stay Mentally Fit. The two generations take similar approaches to keeping their minds healthy. The top mention is communicating regularly with friends, family and community members (88% boomers, 82% centenarians), followed by reading (87% boomers, 66% centenarians), and exercising or staying physically active (74% boomers, 65% centenarians). Working on crossword or other word puzzles is less common among centenarians (35%) than boomers (51%). Your brain needs to be challenged and will build new connections when you stretch your brain to solve problems or think of new solutions to challenges. Thoughtful, deep, and meaningful processing are key ingredients to building brain health.

  8. Flossing. And as a surprising added tip, it seems like flossing your teeth is critical. A 2008 New York University study showed that daily flossing reduced the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is thought to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. Other research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening in their arteries, another sign of heart disease.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. had around 72,000 centenarians as of late 2010. By the year 2050, that number – with the aging of the baby-boom generation – is expected to reach more than 600,000. That's a lot of 100 year old people! Meanwhile, an estimated 10,000 boomers each and every day – for the next decade – will turn 65. We are proud to have many of our medical alert customers who have made the 100-year mark - we are grateful for you every single day!

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