Expert secrets to living a longer, healthier, happier life.
Learn from the Pros
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A few years back, I did research on centenarians, after deciding that I wanted to live to be over 100 years old (this decision was followed by the decision to live the life I want to live a few years prior to that—so I figured I'd better check out what others are doing). This is what I found: Think more good thoughts, drink enough water regularly, breathe deeply daily, walk regularly, and have friendships.
—Wendy Kay, certified life coach and motivator
Be in Good Spirits
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The most essential live-to-100 tip, to me, is recognize that you create your perceptions from the inside out. A person's mood in the moment creates his or her experience; a person's experience does not create his or her mood. Those who understand this live a smooth and stress-free life. They do not play victim to external circumstances.
—Garret Kramer, founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC
Prepare Fresh Homemade Meals
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Cooking your own food means having control over the ingredients, so you can make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives and no extra amounts of sugar or salt. Plus, using fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden is a huge bonus. The more recently the produce was picked, the more nutrients it has, which means more antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body and brain young.
—Michelle L. Butler, holistic nutritionist and yoga instructor
Love Your Job
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Stop doing work you hate. There's nothing that ages us faster than spending our energies and gifts doing things that don't take full advantage of our talents, gifts, and unique experiences. (I call this being in your "superpower space." And you don't have to quit your job to do this. Look around—how could you change your job to do more of what you're great at and less of what you don't like? Times of great change are times of great creativity—so don't be afraid to ask.
—Darcy Eikenberg, leadership and workplace coach, and author of Bring Your Superpowers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control
Move Your Body
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Research shows that people who perform even the most basic movements (walking just 3 to 5 days a week) live longer than those who don't, especially the older you get—stop moving, stop living. If you stay active and keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it certainly keeps your organs healthy, there's less need for medication, and it will enable you to maintain a healthy lifestyle! Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle. The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.
—Nichelle Hines, fitness guru of Cycle House
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Start your day with 16 to 32 ounces of water. Fill your tank—your body—with water. If you think you're hungry, drink water. We often confuse hunger for thirst. When you learn to recognize your true thirst instinctively, you will begin simultaneously and automatically to reduce your food intake. Water is so beneficial, and if you reach for that instead of any other drink in your lifetime, it will definitely help get you to 100!
—Dian Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged who is 50 years old but has a metabolic age of a 17-year-old according to her Tanita body composition
Take Anxiety and Stress Seriously
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Don’t just tolerate feeling anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed all the time—find a solution. It’s important that you take anxiety (and panic attacks) seriously, if for no other reason than the stress they place on the heart. Recent research found that both women under 50 years of age and postmenopausal women who suffer anxiety and panic attacks may have an increased risk of heart disease.
—Trudy Scott, certified nutritionist, president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, and author of The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help you Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings
Eat More Seafood
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Seafood is the richest source of omega-3 in the American diet. The vast majority of studies indicate that more omega-3 is healthful across the life cycle, from fetal life through aging. Eating more seafood is easier than you might think. For example, make a can or pouch of tuna or salmon for an easy, convenient, and low-cost way to get more of the vital nutrients from seafood.
—Tom (J. Thomas) Brenna, PhD, human nutrition professor at Cornell University
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Variety is the spice to life. Your brain will continue to learn way beyond 100, if you let it. Did you know that most people stop learning new things at the ripe old age of 20? Continuing to have variety in your life will keep your brain alert. From simple things like using your opposite hand to eat and brush your teeth to a new hobby or trying new things on the menu, these are sure to keep things fresh. Once your brain gets bored, it's very hard to get that spark back. (This is a common occurrence with college, once someone takes a break, the chances of your going through life without a degree go up substantially.)
—Michelle Turner, movement specialist of MovementLesson.com
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Stress is cumulative but so is peace. If you keep driving for thousands of miles without stopping for gas, you'll run out of gas. Everyone has ways to recharge their inner batteries. You can take brief breaks for stretching, prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, silent offering of gratitude, a short date with nature, or whatever you find calming and balancing. Even 30 seconds out of each hour will melt away stress and accumulate a powerful sense of peace at and below the level of consciousness. Accumulate peace daily and you will not only be more productive, but you will live longer, too.
—Tom Von Deck, corporate meditation trainer, speaker, and author of Oceanic Mind: The Deeper Meditation Training Course"
Stand Up Straight
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People's bones break down over time with bad posture. Exercises like occasionally running in your bare feet and simple resistance training you can do at your desk or at home are incredibly helpful in preserving posture. For example, relieve chest tightness with self myo-fascial release (use a massage ball or foam roll) and stretching, while strengthening the upper-back muscles. My favorite exercise for hunchback posture is upper-back foam rolling, which anyone can do on the living room floor.
—Marc Perry, a New York City-based certified personal trainer and founder of Built Lean Fitness
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I truly believe in the power of positive affirmations to heal, energize, and help us enjoy life! What we tell ourselves and the messages we take in from others affect our ability to live long, happy lives. They help our mind, body, and soul.
—Rob Kaye, life coach and author of You Are the Hero: Coaching and Affirmations
Keep Your Brain on Point
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When individuals are asked how long they want to live, they tend to respond "as long as I have a healthy mind." A robust and high-functioning brain is considered the cornerstone of a satisfactory quality of life. Limit multitasking because it diminishes mental productivity, elevates brain fatigue, and increases stress. Avoid automatic pilot—your brain needs to be challenged and builds new connections when you stretch your brain to solve problems or think of new solutions to challenges. Thoughtful, deep, and effortful processing are key ingredients to building brain health.
—Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas