Seven Ways to Live Longer (and Be Healthier)

older adults exercising in pool

Researching secrets for living a long and happy life can be interesting. After all, several factors are at play when looking at those who have lived through an entire century. Genetics, environment and lifestyle are all variables when studying longevity. And there isn’t any one secret to living long. Instead, there are many actions (big and small) you can take to increase your chances. Below you can check out seven of them:


Stay Positive

PATL stands for “Positive Attitude Towards Life” and is a measurement tool that has been used in several studies on longevity. The term encompasses everything from laughter and optimism to relaxed behavior and extroversion and is attributed to a large number of centenarians.

In other words, people who have positive attitudes are proven to live longer. It may not be as easy as it sounds, as life can throw you against the ropes sometimes. But as long as you get back on your feet and make sure to laugh a little, you could be in for an extended, more enjoyable life.


Exercise often

This does not mean you need to spend hours in the gym every day or train for marathons. It just means that if your routine includes easy-going exercise on a daily basis, you will likely be healthier and, in turn, could live longer. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, daily walks or just getting a good stretch in before bed, you’ll significantly increase your chances of joining the 100-plus club.

It’s also said that playing games can improve longevity. Because when you swing that badminton racket, you’re not just working up a sweat — you’re having a good time and making new friends.


Eat right

A “Blue Zone” is a region with a high concentration of centenarians. There are five distinguishable places where people are prone to live past the ripe age of 100 and have fewer health issues in general:   

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • the Ogliastra Region, Sardinia

When it comes to diet, these five places have five things in common:

  • They drink but only one to two glasses a day.
  • They eat until they’re almost full but not until they’re tired.
  • They eat in the evenings, and it’s always their smallest meal.
  • They eat mostly veggies and beans.
  • They only eat three to four ounces of meat five times a month.

If you want to live as long as Blue Zoners, stick to these five rules. But don’t forget to approach your health as a whole. Emotional, spiritual, psychological and environmental factors are also essential to a long life.


Do good

Volunteer. And volunteer often. Not only will you be exercising, helping others and making new relationships, you’ll inadvertently increase your life expectancy. What’s even better is if you’re volunteering for purely altruistic reasons, your chances of joining the centenarian club increases significantly.

The benefits of doing good don’t stop there either. People who regularly volunteer have seen an increase in life satisfaction and well-being while also experiencing a decrease in depression.


Join a community

Human connection is imperative to your well-being. Whether it’s family, friends, a religious group or your next-door neighbors, belonging to a community can make you a healthier person who is bound to live a lot longer. In fact, some doctors say that it is the single most important factor when it comes to longevity.

Social activities that also include exercise have double the benefits. Going for group walks, taking classes and participating in team sports are all extremely valuable. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure you’re always maintaining and developing relationships along the way. You’ll be happier and healthier, and you’ll likely live longer.


Try not to worry so much

Meditation and prayer are known links to longevity. It’s no surprise that taking time out the day for some deep breaths and reflection can increase life expectancy. But what happens when you let stress rule your life?

Studies indicate that when high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, are released into the body, it can weaken the immune system and even create heart problems. So stay calm, and practice that OM.


Enjoy yourself

Though this secret is close to the first one, it encompasses a different set of values. It’s really about treating yourself, taking leisure time to sit awhile and staying active within your community. It’s okay to be a little bit selfish every once in a while. It’s okay to get a massage or eat a second cookie. What’s important is to live as though every day is a remarkable one and to approach every experience with an open mind.

There’s not a single secret to this long life thing, but there are definitely some ways you can improve your lifestyle in order to get the most out of your time here on earth. And if you’re looking for a place where all seven of the secrets listed above are built into your daily routine, stop by one of our communities for a visit.  


Download and learn more about increasing your longevity with our Why Purpose Matters ebook.

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