I am very excited to be spending some time this week with three centenarians. More about that visit next week. Recently I was telling some friends about this upcoming event and a few of them commented that they had no desire to live that long. These folks are not alone. Most of us want to live long only if we can be relatively healthy. A poll released last year by the Pew Research Center showed that most Americans don’t want to live past current life expectancy. Sixty percent don’t want to live past 90 and thirty percent don’t want to live past 80. Driving the misgivings are questions about what kind of life one will have beyond a certain age. This is a legitimate concern. There is life and there is healthy life and they are different.
David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of the book Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well, with Stacey Colino, agrees that adding life to years, not just years to live is what it is all about. He says, “aging well is preserving the capacity to live well — right up to the end.”
According to Katz, there are six lifestyle factors that help you stay well. He refers to these six as feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress, and love. Translated, they amount to: Eating well, being active, not smoking, getting enough sleep, dissipating stress, and sharing love.
Dr. Thomas Perls and other researchers from Boston University’s New England Centenarian study are conducing ongoing research about the components that go into living to be 100. Their findings do point to some genetic markers; however genes play only a relatively small role. Dr. Perls has created a longevity calculator that you can take for free to get an idea of how long you will live based on family history and health habits. Click here to take the test.
So, how about you-do you want to live to be 100? Check in next week to hear about my adventure with three centenarians and I will tell you what they have to say about it.
Be Well on Purpose!