For centuries, the human race has grappled with its own mortality. From biblical stories to science fiction, it seems to be in our nature to seek out long life – perhaps by whatever means necessary. Yet, these tales often end with words of caution and moral lessons to be learned. While we haven’t found the secret to immortality just yet, the population of people living past 100 is ever growing and by 2050 could reach to over three million people. What’s their secret?
There is no secret formula to a long, happy life but given the right conditions, longevity could be the result of healthy habits, both mental and physical, built over a lifetime. Though from all walks of life, the centenarians living today give us wise, sometimes cryptic, advice for living longer. Yet if we listen closely enough, we can begin to understand the subtle similarities. At age 100, Trudi Fletcher tells us that it’s all about attitude when it comes to living a long life; supercentenarian and oldest living WWII veteran Richard Overton at age 112 simply said, “just keep living, don’t die.”
Clean eating and positive outlooks aside, there are certain regions in the world that seem especially conducive to longevity, known as Blue Zones. Spanning across many continents and home to a wide range of cultures, Blue Zones are geographical hotspots of centenarians. The inhabitants of Okinawa, Japan have the highest life expectancy rate of anywhere else in the world at 85 years. A regional emphasis on clean living and plant-based diets, as well as the traditional concept of “reason for being” or Ikigai, gives citizens a life-long purpose for living. Loma Linda, California is another such place in which the life expectancy is over ten years longer than average Americans. Again, following a traditional diet of veggies and whole grains, this tight-knit community stemming from strong religious purpose almost mirror the communities of Okinawa. Coincidence?
In 2016, the global life expectancy was 72 years and this average age keeps increasing. By 2050, planet Earth could be home to over five million centenarians – could we be among them? Invest in your present to build a solid foundation for your future, and potentially extend your life in the process. Here’s what we can learn from the centenarians living today, the quality of life in Blue Zones, and how we can make it work for ourselves, detailed in this infographic.