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The nine things you should do every day to make it more likely you'll live to 100


How long you are going to live depends on numerous factors. While some of these are beyond our control, such as our genetics, illness and injuries others are very much influenced by lifestyle choices we make.

Life expectancies in the UK have risen over the years. Currently children born in the UK between 2020 to 2022 are predicted to live 78.6 years for males and 82.6 years for females.

There are many things we can do to improve our chances of living younger, from making sure we drink eight glasses of water a day, eating a balanced diet, exercising, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol, according to the NHS.

But according to research if we want to live to 100, we should be sticking to a set of rules known as the “power nine”.

These are based on information from people living in the world’s Blue Zones, regions where people live exceptionally long lives.

In these Blue Zones, which include the Barbagia region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Costa Rica and Icaria in Greece, people are 10 times more likely to live to 100, compared to other parts of the Western world.

Moving throughout the day

As reported by The Mirror, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle, like sitting for 13 hours a day, or walking less than 4,000 steps a day, can reduce the metabolic benefits of acute exercise.

This doesn’t mean going to the gym every day, but just by engaging in small movements at regular intervals you could undo some of the problems associated with sitting all day.

Dr Kien Vuu, founder of Vuu MC Performance and Longevity, explained to GQ that this can be as simple as doing leg lifts or stretches at your desk. Just a few minutes of activity can break up sedentary behaviour.

Having a glass of wine with friends

This one might seem too good to be true but it turns out there could be benefits to drinking alcohol, however, this is not necessarily from the beverage itself.

“In longevity cultures, moderate alcohol consumption often occurs in a social context, emphasising the role of community and celebration,” Dr Vuu said.

According to the expert, this is believed to be less about the alcohol itself, but more about having positive relationships, which contribute to emotional well-being.

Taking time to relax

Stress is never good for you, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Dr Michelle Loy, an integrative medicine specialist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, recommends taking a deep breath, holding for a few seconds, and breathing out slowly through your nose, if you notice your body tensing and emotions rising.

Talking to GQ, she recommends practising the breathing technique anywhere at any time.

Eating mostly plant-based diets

According to the extensive research into the Blue Zones, those who eat a mostly plant-based diet, especially sources of protein like beans and lentils over meat, tend to live longer.

Having a number of close friends

The experts say there is “extreme power within connection and friendship,” which explains why positive social interactions are so important.

Dr Vuu says these connections have been shown to boost oxytocin, which is known as the love hormone.

Eating the smallest meal in the late afternoon

This is one that might take some getting used to as many people enjoy three full meals a day.

Residents in the Blue Zones tend to eat their smallest meal late in the afternoon or early evening – and then refrain from eating the rest of the day.

This is known as the 80 percent rule, which means they stop eating when they are 80 percent full.

Putting loved-ones first

Another rule based around social interaction, those who live past 100 also tend to have good relationships with their ageing parents.

And if they have children, they also make an effort to spend time with them.

Having faith or a place where you feel accepted

Those who attend a faith-based service four times per month live on average 14 years longer, according to research.

But if you’re not religious, there are other things you can do to find a place you belong.

Experts recommend joining a regular exercise class at the gym, or doing a weekly quiz at a nearby pub.

Finding your purpose

Knowing your purpose in your daily life could add on average seven years to your life expectancy, according to research.

Dr Loy recommends asking yourself these questions, and filling them out, as this could give you purpose:

  • What do I love (passion)?
  • What am I good at (profession)?
  • What does the world need (mission)?
  • What can I be compensated for (vocation)?

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