For adults who remain physically childlike in old age, there has to be a sustained enthusiasm for some aspect of life. People who want a long life with an alert old age should never retire. If they are forcibly retired, they should immerse themselves in some new, absorbing activity.

Some people are naturally more physically active than others, and are at a considerable advantage, providing their activities are not the result of stress. Such activities as walking and gardening prolong life spectacularly because they are ‘non-intensive’ forms of all-over bodily movement. The more earnest ageing exercisers display a conscious or unconscious anxiety about their health. If they take exercise too seriously, it will work against them.

Woody Allen
How to live to be a hundred?


Older individuals who take up intensive athletic activity are usually people who fear declining health. Yet, it is crucial that physical exercise – as we grow past the young spoilsman stage – should be extensive rather than intensive and, above all, fun.

A calm temperament favours longevity. Those who are sharply aggressive, emotionally explosive or naggingly anxious are at a grave disadvantage. But it is important to make a distinction between calmly relaxed and passively lazy. Relaxation does not contradict the idea of passionate interest. Indeed, zest for living, eagerness to pursue chosen subjects are vital in long life.

Thinking about ‘the good old days’, complaining about how the world is deteriorating, criticising the younger generations are sure signs of an early funeral. Being successful is a great life-stretcher, and can even override such life-shorteners as obesity and fondness for drink. But, in gaining success, individuals should not overstress themselves.

And success must always be measured in personal terms. A hill-shepherd may feel just as successful in
his own way as a Nobel Laureate.

Long-lived individuals seem to be more concerned with what they do than who they are. They live outside themselves rather than dwelling on their own personalities. In personal habits, the long-lived are generally moderate. Extremes of diet are not common.

A mixed diet seems to favour longevity. Puritanical arguments about smoking and drinking have little to support them. Many long-lived individuals enjoy nicotine and alcohol – in moderation.

 Most long-lived people have a sense of self-discipline. That does not imply a harsh military-style masochism, but the ordering of life and the imposition of a pattern on the events of the day. The man who lives long because he walks a mile a day does so because he does it every day, as part of an organised existence.

Over and over, during my researches, it emerged that long life goes with a ‘twinkle in the eye’. A sense of humour, impishness, a feeling that life is fun, are strong weapons against ageing. The sour-faced puritan and the solemn bore soon begin to lose ground, leaving their more amused contemporaries to enjoy the last laugh.

Most important of all, we should always keep in mind that nothing is to be gained by a head-in-the-sand avoidance of the facts of life and death. The healthiest solution is to accept that one’s span on Earth is limited and then to live every day, in the present, and to the full.



1. Sleep in and take naps.
A 2008 study conducted by the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 23,000 Greeks and found that occasional napping was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. But regular napping — at least three days weekly — was associated with a 37% reduction. Zzzz’s, anyone?
2. Stop worrying about being late.
Arrive whenever you get there – and let others do the same. Worrying about when you arrive triggers “fight or flight” stress responses that can reduce your life expectancy.
3. Grow a garden, nurture it, and eat from it.
Eat plants, avoid animal products, consume lots of olive oil, avoid processed foods, and drink wine in the company of good friends. Need inspiration and recipes? Read Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen.
4. Never give up your sense of purpose.
Finding and fulfilling your calling throughout your lifetime can extend your life. In fact, studies have linked early retirement to reduced life expectancy. In Okinawa, another community where many people live to be older than 100, people embrace the notion of ikigai — “the reason for which you wake up in the morning. ”
It gets centenarians out of bed and off the sofa so they can make a difference in the community. The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose. Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, says that being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.
5. Get it on.
A study of Ikarian men between 65 and 100 found that 80% of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with “good duration” and “achievement.” Go dudes! For more proof that sex isn’t just fun, it’s good for your health, read this.
6. Take a placebo at least once per day.
Ikarians take a spoonful of honey every morning. They believe it is their “medicine” and use it for both prevention and treatment of illness and injury. They also regularly consume a homemade tea made of a special blend of herbs they believe extends their lives.
While there may be some health benefit the Ikarians enjoy from the honey and herbs themselves, chances are good that the stress-relieving, relaxation-inducing effects of the positive belief they associate with the honey and tea are more potent medicine than the honey and tea themselves. For more proof that placebos really can heal your body, read this.
7. Walk up 20 hills a day.
To get around the island, Ikarians walk. And it’s hilly where they live. Exercise isn’t something they do at the gym. It’s an enjoyable, built in part of their lifestyle.
8. Cultivate a sense of belonging. 
As I wrote in this blog post, finding your tribe, alleviating loneliness, and feeling like part of a community can cut your risk of heart disease in half and extend your life up to 10 years. Be part of a community where you fit in. Ikarians live in multigenerational homes and avoid spending too much time alone. And researchers have proven that being part of a nurturing community is more important to good health than quitting smoking or starting to exercise.
9. Go to the church, temple, or mosque.
Studies show that gathering as part of a spiritual community can extend your life up to 14 years.
10. Surround yourself with people who follow steps 1-9.
The more you surround yourself with people engaged in whole health-inducing behaviors, the more it becomes part of your culture. If, however, you surround yourself with beer-guzzling, obese couch potato loners, it’s easier to become one yourself. When you surround yourself with healthy, inspiring people, you’re way more likely to live to be 100.


Mark the best choice.
1. Retirement is not recommended because .
a) it keeps you alert in old age
b) it may take away the enthusiasm of life
c) other activities can never replace a real job
d) people who retire become physically active
2. Non-intensive forms of physical activity .
a) display an unconscious anxiety about one’s health
b) become less popular as people get older
c) contribute to longevity to a great extent
d) work against the people who do them
3. People with a calm temperament .
a) are usually aggressive and emotionally explosive
b) are usually lazy and don’t have many interests
c) may live longer than anxious ones
d) have a stronger zest for living
4. may cause an early death.
a) Being happy with one’s present status
b) Lack of interest in world affairs
c) Getting on with young people
d) Thinking too much about the past
5. A life-stretcher is .
a) anything that allows you to live longer
b) a kind of activity that you are fond of
c) something that can never be measured
d) something that causes too much stress

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