Take Jeanne Louise Calment, for example, who lived until she was 122 years old. The French woman’s advice? She would take pleasure in chocolate and port wine. She did, however – according to a report by Eat This, Not That! – lead an active lifestyle. While chocolate is loaded with added sugar, high in calories, and saturated fat, it could have been the exercise that kept Jeanne Louise going.
The NHS considers exercise as the “miracle cure” we all have access to for free.
Routine exercise minimises the risk of life-limiting conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Some cancers.
Exercise has also been linked to a boost in self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, and reduces the risk of depression and dementia.
Moreover, it has been “medically proven” that moving the body can lower the risk of early death.
So what exactly counts as exercise?
People should aim for some type of physical activity every day, with the more you do, the better.
As a minimum, people should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
In order for movement to count as moderate intensity, you must feel warmer, breathe that little bit faster, and have a faster heart rate.
Another long-living individual was Kane Tanaka, who lived till the ripe age of 119.
The Japanese supercentenarian stated studying mathematics and drinking fizzy drinks was part of her daily routine.
While fizzy drinks are not recommended by the NHS, as they too are loaded with added sugar (thereby increasing the risk of disease), studying mathematics is a key way to keep the brain engaged.
The National Institute on Ageing pointed out that being intellectually stimulated benefits the brain in terms of thinking ability and memory.
Lots of activities can engage the brain, such as:
- Reading books and magazines
- Playing games
- Taking or teaching a class
- Learning a new skill or hobby
- Working or volunteering.
Observational research also suggests that mental stimulation may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s-related cognitive impairment and dementia.
Some scientists argue that engaging the brain helps to build “cognitive reserve” that may make the brain more adaptable to compensate for age-related brain changes.
Saturnino de la Fuente García, a Spanish man who lived till 112 years old, shared his adage: “Not to get angry and [to] keep a smile on your face.”
In recent years, there have been studies showing the link between positivity and longer life outcomes.
Research published in the peer-review PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) journal highlighted the benefits of a positive mindset.
Prior research, for example, suggested that optimistic people are less likely to suffer from chronic disease and die prematurely.
Building on this, the research paper suggested that “optimism is specifically related to 11 to 15 percent longer life, on average”.
There are also greater odds of achieving “exceptional longevity” if you are a positive person.