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Want to live to 100? Follow these 18 simple rules

Want to live to 100? Follow these 18 simple rules

Follow these 18 simple rules and you won’t just live longer—you’ll make those (many, many) years count.

1. Stop smoking

Four years after doing so, your chance of having a heart attack falls to that of someone who has never smoked.

After ten years, your lung cancer risk drops to nearly that of a nonsmoker.

2. Exercise daily

Thirty minutes of activity is all that’s necessary. Three ten-minute walks will do it.

3. Eat your produce

Fruit, vegetables … whatever your favourites are, just make sure you eat them every day.

4. Get screened

No need to go test-crazy; just get the health screenings recommended for your stage of life.

Check with your doctor to make sure you’re up-to-date.

Just be honest. How much you smoke, drink, eat, exercise and whether you use protection during sex or while out in the sun matters.

5. Make sleep a priority

For most adults who want to live to 100, that means seven to eight hours every night.

If you have a tough time turning off the light, remember that sleep deprivation raises the risk of heart disease, cancer, and more.

6. Ask your doctor about low-dose aspirin

Heart attack, stroke, even cancer—a single 81 mg tablet per day may fight them all.

(Aspirin comes with risks, though, so don’t start on your own.)

If you’re older, you are at risk from the major problem of over-prescribing.

7. Know your blood pressure numbers

It’s not called the silent killer just to give your life a little more drama.

Keep yours under 120/80 if you want to live to 100.

8. Stay connected

Loneliness is another form of stress.

Friends, family, and furry pets help you feel loved.

9. Cut back on saturated fat

It’s the raw material your body uses for producing LDL, bad cholesterol.

For decades, doctors and medical organisations have viewed saturated fat as the raw material for a heart attack.

10. Get help for depression

It doesn’t just feel bad; it does bad things to your body.

In fact, when tacked onto diabetes and heart disease, it increases risk of early death by as much as 30 percent.

11. Manage your stress

The doctors we surveyed say that living with uncontrolled stress is more destructive to your health than being 30 pounds overweight.

12. Have a higher purpose

As one physician advised, “Strive to achieve something bigger than yourself.”

By giving back, you give to yourself.

Just try to keep your energy levels up for the personal journey ahead.

13. Load up at breakfast

People in “Blue Zones”—areas with high life expectancies—eat the most at breakfast, then have little or nothing for dinner.

Front-loading calories can ward off hungry all day, keeping your weight in check.

14. Start fasting

You don’t need to go days without food.

Simply limiting eating to eight hours of the day gives your body more time to finish its six to twelve hours of digestion.

After that, it goes into “fasting” mode, burning stored fat.

15. Cook at home

Not only do you get to control the ingredients and make healthier choices, but the act of cooking is a mini workout.

New to the kitchen and want to save some money?

16. Have a sit-down meal

Multi-tasking during meals, such as while driving or rushing to get out the door, can put stress hormones in the way of your body’s ability to digest, which won’t help you live to 100.

Sit down, or better yet, gather the family together to get the bonus of social time while enjoying a meal together.

17. Save up

Most people who live to 100 are financially secure.

Worrying about money (and how to pay for healthcare) could get in the way of a long, healthy life.

18. Focus on the good stuff

Research shows people who live to 100 tend to complain less than younger adults.

Their lack of gripes could mean they’re better at handling bad situations.

This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.