Ten ways to live to 100

Monday, June 15, 2009
Image: Getty
Do you want to make it to triple digits? Here are 10 easy ways to pave your way to longevity.

1. Fill up with premium fuel
Each day, eat a variety of foods including whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and dairy products. Choose unprocessed foods and drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day.

2. Move it
There are many benefits associated with regular exercise to get you on your way to 100. These include improved heart and lung health, reduced risk of chronic disease and stress management. According to Dr Maoshing Ni, author of Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of ways to be 100, most centenarians walk for at least 30 minutes a day and research suggests that walking can considerably reduce risks of stroke and heart disease.

3. Stress less
While stress is an unavoidable part of life, if you can manage your stress levels effectively you can increase your energy levels, get more out of life and decrease your risk of chronic illness.

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4. Fend off free radicals
It is thought that damage caused by free radicals contributes to ageing and age-associated disease. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E protect the body from free radical damage. In fact, an Italian study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2000 found that healthy centenarians show a particular profile in which high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E were key to their longevity.

5. Boost brain power
Preventing cognitive decline and keeping your mind sharp can be achieved by flexing a little mental muscle. Exercise the brain by playing games that involve planning and memory such as chess and bridge; try activities that test your vocabulary such as crosswords and Scrabble; learn a new skill — perhaps a language or a musical instrument.

6. Have a happy heart
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in Australia and New Zealand. It is also largely preventable. Maintain a happy heart with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Eliminate known risk factors such as smoking and eat less saturated fats and processed foods.

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7. Harness the power of the sun
A US study found that 15 minutes a day in the sun could contribute to a longer life by avoiding vitamin D deficiency. Increased levels of vitamin D could boost heart health, whilst vitamin D supplementation has been linked to benefits for osteoporosis and certain diseases.

8. Strengthen immunity
As we get older immunity starts to decrease, leaving us more susceptible to infection. Incorporating foods into the diet that are high in vitamin C (such as kiwifruit, red and yellow vegetables and broccoli) and zinc (such as oysters, walnuts and whole grains) will help to boost your immunity.

9. Volunteer
According to research by the US Corporation for National and Community Service in 2007, participating in volunteer work can greatly improve our health. The research suggests there is a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

10. Play with a pet
According to the Australian Companion Animal Council pets provide companionship, encourage exercise and increase social interaction. Owning a pet may decrease the number of visits to the GP and may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

LOL (laugh out loud)
Laughter can boost your physical, emotional, spiritual and mental well-being. Join a laugh session with your local Laughter Club and laugh your way to longevity.

Brought to you by Blackmores.

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