LongeviQuest researchers chat to the world’s oldest people to verify their ages.
They’ve been given advice and picked up tips from over 1,000 centenarians.
Here are the changes they’ve made in their own lives as a result.
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Three researchers who meet centenarians from all over the world shared the advice superagers have given them, which they’ve incorporated into their own lives.
Centenarians from different countries have different customs, diets, and lifestyles, and longevity is, of course, partly dependent on genetics. But there are few potentially longevity-extending lifestyle habits and attitudes that researchers from LongeviQuest, an organization that validates the ages of the world’s oldest people, have noticed that most centenarians share.
LongeviQuest’s CEO, Ben Meyers; Japan research president, Yumi Yamamoto; and Latin America research president, Fabrizio Villatoro, have spoken to over 1,000 centenarians and supercentenarians from these countries and the US between them.
They shared four centenarian habits with Business Insider that they’ve adopted into their own lives.
Incorporating activity into your routine
In Japan, Yamamoto said, they do “radio gymnastics,” which are calisthenics (body weight exercises) directed by a radio broadcast. So she tries to include radio gymnastics and other short bursts of exercise into her daily routine.
Research suggests that high intensity bursts of activity can benefit our health, with one study published earlier this year suggesting that doing as little as 4.5 minutes of vigorous activity throughout the day could lower the risk of cancer, while another study from 2021 suggested that working out for only four seconds could boost fitness.
Having treats from time to time
Villatoro has met centenarians and supercentenarians who have smoked and drank alcohol throughout their lives, while others who have eaten super healthily.
Experts agree that there are no safe levels of smoking or drinking alcohol. But Villatoro has realized that even though excess is bad for longevity, being too strict can backfire too, and so has let himself “off the hook a little bit” when it comes to treats such as chocolate and wine.
Similarly, Yamamoto tries to practice moderation, something that many centenarians she has spoken to say is important. She said that many 100+-year-olds still eat and drink things that are seen as unhealthy, like Coca Cola and chocolate bars, but they only have them every so often.
Staying away from ‘toxic people’
As María Branyas Morera — the oldest living person in Spain validated by LongeviQuest — advises, Villatoro tries to stay away from “toxic people.” He said: “I’ve been careful about who I associate with, and make sure not to let others have too much influence on my decisions.”
Research suggests having healthy relationships could have as great an impact on longevity as a good diet or exercise does, according to Professor Rose Anne Kenny, the lead researcher on The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity College, Dublin.
Not stressing about things out of their control
Meyers, Yamamoto, and Villatoro all said that they try not to stress too much, because lots of centenarians say they don’t worry about things that are out of their control.
Yamamoto said that she tries not to let “the little things” worry her, because the centenarians she’s spoken to “tend to be very laid back and relaxed, in spite of whatever is going on around them.”
Meyes said that he particularly tries not to stress about his own longevity, despite his work revolving around it.
“There’s not a single person who I’ve met or even read about who was aiming to live that long. They’re all kind of surprised. They’ve enjoyed their lives, and they’re happy to still be here, but none of them were trying to achieve longevity. So it’s not something that I spend a lot of time worrying about either,” Meyes said.