Centenarians Remind Us How To Live/

9 Tips To Live Beyond 100

July 18, 2019

Centenarians Remind Us How To Live

It’s a weekday. Your alarm rings at 6. Rush to get ready. Practice deep breathing as you weave through traffic. Work. Work. Work. Repeat in reverse, sleep (ha!), wake up and do it all over again. Your internal gas pedal is constantly pushed to the limit.

Instead, picture this. You wake up when you’re ready and move- with purpose- to accomplish whatever is needed for the benefit of your family and your community. You share homegrown food and stories that spark laughter with those important to you. You journey through your day, and life, connected and with meaning. Sound like a dream? It’s not for many.

From a Grecian island where people “forget to die” to a sunny Californian community, people are growing older- and bolder- in “blue zones” where reaching 100 isn’t that unusual. Together, they offer the rest of us nine insights into living longer, better lives. And chances are we will live longer. In 2000, 16.5% of Americans were over 60. By 2025, that number will be 25% and it’s growing, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab.

While there is no quick way to achieve longevity and no guarantees, research shows that surrounding yourself with healthy-minded people in a locale that supports that lifestyle is the most significant thing you can do to add more happy and healthy years to your life.

9 Tips To Live Beyond 100

Only about 20% of how long we live is dictated by our genes. That means there’s a lot within our control even if you don’t live in a Blue Zone.* These nine commonalities may lead to a longer, healthier and happier life right where you are.


1) Put Family First

Aging parents and grandparents live nearby and children receive plenty of attention and love.

2) Have A Sense Of Purpose

Having a reason to get up is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3) Find The Right Tribe

One long-term study showed that health habits are “contagious.” The world’s longest-lived people are born into, or choose, social circles that support healthy behaviors.

4) Use Your Body

Set up your life to spur moderate physical activity, including house and yard work, walking and gardening.

5) Shed Stress

Use downtime to help ward off nearly every major age-related disease including Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

6) Eat Slowly

Give your brain time to get the message that you’re full. People in these zones eat their smallest and final meal in the late afternoon or early evening.

7) Choose A Diet With A “Plant Slant”

Centenarians eat plenty of vegetables and beans. Meat- mostly pork- is eaten just five times a month.

8) Sip Some Wine

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) enjoy one to two glasses a day.

9) Belong And connect

All but five of the 263 centenarians studied belonged to a faith-based community and attended services regularly, adding four to 14 years of life expectancy.

*Blue Zones- discovered and researched by author Dan Buettner in conjunction with National Geographic and the National Institute on Aging- are areas where people live long and prosper, as Spock might say. They disproportionately live beyond 100, at rates up to 10 times higher than people in other places. Here’s what Buettner learned from them. Chances are we can learn something, too.


                               Loma Linda, California

East of Los Angeles, certain Methodists live 10 years longer than the rest of Americans.

Seventh Day Adventists set time aside to focus on God and family and take nature walks- no matter how busy they are.

Their healthful plant-based diet is linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduced rates of diabetes and heart disease.

                                Ikaria, Greece

“The island where people forget to die” in the Aegean has one of the world’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and dementia, and lower rates of heart disease.

“It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.” -Dr. Ilias Leriadis, one of Ikaria’s few physicians.

A typical day includes gardening, a late lunch, a nap, and neighborly visits, with 96% of those over 80 still living in their own homes.

                                Okinawa, Japan

A plant-based diet contributes to the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. Okinawans live seven years longer than average Americans.

The moai, a group of lifelong friends, provides financial, emotional and social support, as well as a sense of purpose. One such group had an average age of 102 and had been together for 97 years.

Older Okinawans possess a strong sense of purpose, known as ikigai- “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.” There is no word for retirement.

                                Nicoya, Costa Rica

On this Pacific coast peninsula, residents are twice as likely as Americans to reach a healthy age 90.

World’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the second highest concentration of male centenarians.

The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose.

                                Sardinia, Italy

This Mediterranean island has the world’s greatest concentration of male centenarians per capita. Geographic isolation may have amplified certain longevity traits over generations.

A traditional way of life emphasizes family and celebrates wisdom gained by aging, known as the “grandmother effect.”

Diet consists of locally grown food, unleavened bread, cheese made from grass-fed animals, and wine with elevated levels of polyphenols.



Sources: New York Times Magazine; bluezones.com; University of Sassari;

*As featured in WORTHWHILE, a quarterly periodical dedicated to serving the clients of Raymond James advisors and affiliated advisory firms and is the sole and exclusive property of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Copyright 2019 Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Reprinted with permission.  

Capital Investment Services, LLC., and Hutchinson Traylor are not registered broker/dealers, and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.


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