When it comes to living a long and healthy life, there are now more ways to achieve this goal than ever before. Just a half century ago, it was unthinkable that you might live to be 100. But with rapid advancements in the fields of healthcare and technology, centenarians–those who have reached the age of 100–have become a quickly growing population.
Wondering how you can join this rather elite group? Curiously enough, it’s a rather simple equation - It’s all about making the right lifestyle choices.
What Influences Longevity?
Genetics, the environment, and lifestyle all play a role. Scientists estimate that 25% of the factors that influence personal longevity are inherited. While you can’t change your DNA, you can make a focused effort to offset these unavoidable traits.
Luckily, as a member of the human race in the 21st century, your life span has already been greatly extended due to environmental, cultural and societal improvements enacted since the 1900s. These include consistent access to nutritious and safe food, clean water and better housing, as well as significantly-decreased exposure to infectious disease and the ability to obtain medical care.
The “Blue Zones” of Longevity
Did you know there are certain areas in the world where large portions of the population are living to 100 and well-beyond? These geographic areas are referred to as the “Blue Zones,” and the residents who live in these places tend to have fewer chronic diseases and are some of the world’s oldest living individuals.
A few common traits found in these communities include:
- Diets rich in vegetables, legumes, and fruits
- Fewer servings of meat
- Reduced daily calories
- Exercise as part of daily life
- Sleeping the amount their bodies tell them they need
- Having a sense of purpose
- Meaningful relationships with their family, friends, and community
As you can see, the lifestyle choices you make have the most significant impact on your number of years, even more so than your inherited traits. If your goal is to live to 100 and beyond, it’s important to make healthy choices every day.
Steps You Can Take to Encourage a Long Life
- Manage your stress
It’s impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, but you can take proactive steps to keep it in check. Try a few of these strategies for managing stress to see which ones work best for you: exercise, deep breathing, taking a walk or relaxation techniques.
- Get enough sleep
For many Americans, sleep is typically the first thing to be sacrificed if they get busy, need to work longer hours or want to participate in fun activities. Unfortunately, inadequate amounts of rest can lead to poor clarity of thought, a compromised immune system and other considerable health issues. Aim for seven to nine consecutive hours of restful sleep each night..
- Eat a healthy diet
How you fuel your body greatly impacts your physical and cognitive well-being. Studies show that a diet low on fat and rich in antioxidants is the best way to support both. Strive to add leafy greens, fruit, beans, nuts, and whole grains to your daily diet while minimizing meats and sugars.
- Exercise and keep moving
People who make movement a natural part of their day are far more likely to live longer, healthier lives. Making exercise a priority will help you maintain strong bones, muscle tone and balance, minimizing your risk of falling and injury. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
- Build strong relationships
Establishing meaningful relationships with people you can share your life and experiences with can contribute not only to the length of your life, but also its depth. Take steps to ward off isolation or loneliness, as they can have serious consequences to both your physical and cognitive health.
- Take control of your life decisions
Remember that you have the single most influence over the quality of your life. Set wellness goals and commit to meeting them. Look for ways to receive the assistance and encouragement you need. Even if you haven’t been living as healthy as you could be, it’s never too late to start making healthier lifestyle choices.
How a Senior Living Community Can Support Longevity
If you’re not familiar with all the benefits that a senior living community can offer, take a moment to consider how they can inspire and reinforce your efforts to live and age well. The variety of lifestyle choices available at most communities could enrich and add years to your life.
Here are a few of the many advantages you’ll find:
- An independent lifestyle with additional support: You’ll have your own private residence and all decisions are yours to make, but you’ll avoid the hassles of traditional homeownership.
- Healthy dining options: You’ll have access to healthy and delicious dining options when you’re not in the mood to shop, cook or clean.
- Less stress: The convenience of having everything located in the community, maintenance-free living, and scheduled transportation can make life much easier and considerably less stressful.
- Staying physically and cognitively fit: Having ready access to an onsite fitness center and a calendar of physical and brain-stimulating activities can help you keep your health and longevity goals on track.
- Making lifelong friendships: With so many opportunities to make new friends, the majority of residents living at senior living communities find themselves more socially active than ever before.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or your loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.