Discover the lifestyle habits that could help you live to 100

Jul 01, 2024
Discover the surprising lifestyle habits that could help pave the way to 100 years and beyond. Source: Getty Images.

When someone is lucky enough to reach the grand age of 100, it’s natural to wonder how they achieved such a milestone and what their secrets to longevity might be.

As part of a recent study, an international research team sought to unravel this mystery by examining the behaviours of older Chinese adults over a five year period. Their goal was to identify the common lifestyle habits among centenarians.

While previous studies have focused on people who were middle-aged and older, the authors of this study wanted to analyse people aged 80 years and older.

“There was a limited understanding of how lifestyle factors would affect health outcomes in individuals of advanced age (80 years),” the researchers wrote.

“Studying the potential lifestyle factors associated with living to 100 among those already members of the very advanced age group can provide unique insight into achieving healthy longevity and generate evidence-based strategies to promote healthy aging.”

Researchers analysed data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey and examined the results of over 5000 adults aged 80 or over. Their lifestyle choices were assessed using a healthy lifestyle score of 100 (HLS-100) that took into account factors such as smoking, alcohol use, exercise, dietary diversity, and body mass index (BMI).

Researchers noted that individuals with the highest healthy lifestyle score (those who never smoked, who currently exercise and who ate a varied diet) had a ”significantly higher likelihood of becoming a centenarian, compared with those with the least healthy lifestyle behaviors”.

“In this case-control study of Chinese older adults, adhering to a healthy lifestyle appears to be important even at late ages, suggesting that constructing strategic plans to improve lifestyle behaviors among all older adults may play a key role in promoting healthy aging and longevity,” researchers wrote.

While the research found that diet and exercise can contribute to whether one makes it to the impressive age of 100, according to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, interacting with others regularly may also prolong the lives of older adults.

The study, which examined over 28,000 individuals, indicated that socialising on a daily basis appears to be the most advantageous for increasing longevity.

As part of the Association between social activity frequency and overall survival in older people: results from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, researchers collected information on the frequency of social interactions starting in 2002, and this current research focused on five waves of data collection that occurred up to 2018-19, with a total of 28,563 participants who had an average age of 89.

Participants were asked about the frequency of their social activities, with response options including almost every day, at least once a week, at least once a month, occasionally, and never. The study also collected data on potentially influential factors such as education, sex, marital status, household income, fruit and vegetable intake, lifestyle, and poor health. The study tracked survival for an average of 5 years or until death.

During the monitoring period, 25,406 individuals reported not engaging in any social activities, 1379 engaged sometimes, 693 at least once a month, 553 at least once a week, and 532 almost every day. Of the 28,563 participants, 21,161 (74 per cent) died, with 15,728 passing away within the first 5 years.

Overall, the study found that more frequent social activity was associated with longer survival. The greater the frequency of social interactions, the greater the likelihood of living longer.

Compared to individuals who reported never socialising, those who socialised occasionally had a 42 per cent delay in time to death, those who socialised at least monthly had a 48 per cent delay, those who socialised at least weekly had a 110 per cent delay, and those who socialised nearly every day had an 87 per cent delay in time to death.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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