Ask anyone who has lived a long life about their secret, and you are sure to get an interesting story. The answers can cover a broad range, from “drink a scotch every day” to “sleep with a silver dollar under your pillow.” Finally, someone has tallied up these secrets to a long life and reported on some common factors.
The medical insurance provider UnitedHealthcare interviewed 100 people who were at least 100 years old. They asked a wide range of questions, trying to find common themes among their answers. Here are a few tips for making it to your golden years.
First, get more sleep. Nearly three quarters of the centenarians said that they regularly got eight hours or more of sack time. This was incredibly consistent, yet our modern life makes that ideal pretty hard to achieve. In fact, less than half of working age adults get eight hours of sleep on any sort of a regular basis.
The second theme was also expected yet equally challenging: eat a good diet. 80% of the golden-agers reported that they ate a balanced diet. That is a full dozen percentage points better than the working population.
The third key to a longer life? Staying connected. Nearly 90% of the centenarians said that they were in touch with friends and family every day. Two thirds pray or meditate daily and half exercise daily. That is a lot of interaction and stimulation, with time reserved for reflection and introspection.
It seems that treating your body like a fine automobile may be the secret to achieving high mileage. OK, sorry, that wasn’t very good. But taking time for rest, eating the right food, and keeping in touch with family, friends and our spiritual life all seem to come together to yield a long and happy life. Sounds like a pretty reasonable recipe!