Is there a secret formula to longevity? Common sense tells us that diet and exercise are two of the biggest factors in living to 100, but a new study found that one-third of centenarians were overweight at some point in their lives, another third were smokers, and 40% admitted they rarely exercised! So, what are the “x factors” that determine a long life – even if you never work out? Consider this intel we got from the New England Centenarian Study, which has been described as “the largest research project of its kind in the world.” These are the personality traits among the 100-plus crowd:
- First: You need a great attitude. All of today’s centenarians have lived through world wars and the Great Depression. Yet, researchers found that people who live to 100 tend to be more optimistic. They don’t complain about life’s difficulties, and as one researcher put it: “They’re masters at the art of letting go.”
- The next x-factor to living longer: You need a strong social network. We’ve talked before about the importance of having a lot of close friends and family. This study found that most centenarians are surrounded by friends who keep them laughing, or stop them from becoming a hermit. Lots of research has shown that social interaction boosts mood, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
- One more x-factor for living to be 100: You need to stay active MENTALLY. Consider Irving Kahn, an investor from New York who says he has no intention of retiring – even at the age of 104! Long after others have stopped working, Kahn says he remains a passionate reader, who keeps up with all the latest industries and technologies. Experts say when you keep your brain cells active, they become more efficient as you age. A study found that people who stay sharp mentally can prolong their life by at least two years, while reducing the risk of dementia.