Most people hope to live a long, happy and healthy life but very few people get to live to a hundred and beyond. Becoming a centenarian may not be everyone’s goal, but many people would like to live longer and stay healthier for longer in later life.
The secrets to a long and healthy life have long been studied and so far there is no single answer to the question of why some people live much longer than others. However, research has revealed that there are a few things that centenarians typically have in common with each other.
While it is hard to empirically gauge their impact, these key factors may contribute to their long lives. This is certainly what Marcus Pearce, a wellness coach and “longevity strategist”, believes.
Pearce has made his name teaching people how to live better. As a part of his work, he has been interviewing and researching the lives of centenarians for the past ten years.
In a recent interview on the Today Show, Pearce shared some of his findings with the hosts. What he discovered isn’t exactly surprising, but the good news is that anyone can do it!
His first piece of advice was to avoid trends, fads, “hacks” and extremities of diet.
“I have to start with what it is not, I have never interviewed a centenarian who says it is my ice bath, it is my breathing work, it is my meditation or vegan diet that’s helped me live longer,” Marcus said.
While all of these things can benefit wellbeing, Marcus himself admits that he was a vegan for a number of years, none of them are likely to result directly in a longer life.
“What they love is they are physically active, they are socially active and have a compelling reason to get out of bed each day,” he added later on.
Staying physically active for at least 30 minutes a day was something that he identified as a key factor amongst the long-lived. He used the island of Ikiria in Greece, renowned for having inhabitants with long lives, as an example.
“But importantly, they love to walk too. They say ‘why drive when you can walk’,” said Pearce.
The people of Ikiria love their food and wine but have a remarkably low dementia and heart disease rate. Pearce credits their regular exercise with countering the negative effects associated with diet that may develop in older age.
Positive self-talk was the last factor that he mentioned as important to living a long and healthy life.
“And stop saying ‘I’m too old and I don’t have time’, Yale research shows we take 7.5 years off our lives if we have this ‘it is all downhill from here’ mentality,” he said.
It appears something can be said about the power of positive thinking and the old adage that age is just a number!