Increasing your chances of living to age 90 could come down to your behaviors, not just genetics, research shows.
Currently, one in 5,000 people in the US is age 100 or older, according to Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of medicine at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and director of Boston University’s medical school. University. New England Centennial Study.
The study, which is the largest and most in-depth of its kind, has followed more than 2,000 people ages 100 and older since 1995 to determine whether certain factors contribute to living longer lives.
Perls also created a life expectancy calculator which formulates an estimated age you can live, based on answers to questions about how often you work, how often you visit the doctor, your sleep habits, and more.
“If you make it to 95, you usually do it because of really good health behaviors,” says Perls, as well as benefiting from good luck and good genes.
- Manage your stress levels
- sleep well
- Eat healthy: Stick to a Mediterranean or ketogenic diet that prioritizes whole foods, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also, avoid excess red meat.
- Exercise often: strength training twice a week and aerobic exercise three times a week, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day.
- abstain from smoking
Through another study that tracked the behaviors of adherents of a religious group, Seventh-day Adventists, researchers were able to narrow down the most important daily practices for longevity to these five.
On average, followers of the religion tended to live between the ages of 86 and 90, regardless of their race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The only common theme was that everyone strictly followed the five behaviors listed above.
While doing research, Perls noticed that a number of people had reservations about living a long life, which prevented them from seeing the value of maintaining healthy behaviors. “Some people think that the older you get, the sicker you get, and that they wouldn’t want to live to that age. And that’s seriously flawed thinking,” she says.
Actually, he says, “The older you get, the healthier you’ve been.”
Perls has had the opportunity to meet many centenarians, and some of them even lead very active lives, he said. bu todaya Boston University publication.
“I remember one lady, Celia, she was 102 years old and she was never around for me to visit her in this independent living community,” Perls said during the BU Today podcast. “I thought maybe she was seeing her doctors or something. But no, she was playing the piano in all kinds of concerts, and she was really a complex Chopin.”
Genetics also play a notable role in all of this. Only “About 75% of living to the age of 90 will be health-related behaviors,” says Perls.
But at 110 years old, it changes and longevity becomes more dependent on genetics. When the researchers analyzed 200 people aged 110 and over, they found that about 75% of the ability to live that long was based on having the right combination of rare genetic variants.
There is also a strong gender component, as approximately nine out of 10 centenarians are women.
“Women win the longevity marathon by far compared to men. It’s not entirely clear why women fare so much better in terms of reaching these more extreme ages,” says Perls.
If you are interested in estimating how long you could live, you can check out Perls’ life expectancy calculator. Upon completion, you’ll receive an estimate of how old you can live from your answers and a detailed breakdown of how you can increase your age by changing your behaviors.
Do you want to earn more and work less? Record free Virtual event CNBC Make It: Your Money on December 13 at 12 p.m.