Want to live forever? These are the 2 things you must do

Longevity as a demographical study differs from life expectancy in a few key ways.

The latter identifies the statistical age members of a population will be when they die, while the former distinguishes the factors that cause certain members of the same population to defy this statistical average.

If you’re alive in 2020 and still want to be for some reason, you’re in luck.

Researchers from the University of Otago recently uncovered some of the most influential correlates associated with reaching centenarian status. The team detailed their findings in a new study published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

“Centenarians escapers are those who reached 100 years of age without the diagnosis of any of the common age-related diseases and exploring their characteristics will inform about successful ageing. No previous study has examined centenarians free of common chronic diseases amongst New Zealand centenarians,” the authors wrote in the new report. Retrospective observational cross-sectional review of a national dataset determining the prevalence of depression, dementia, diabetes and hypertension, smoking, physical activity and social relationships among older adults (aged 60–99 years) and centenarians.

Keep it 100

All of the participants involved in the report were older New Zealanders living independently.

Each completed the international Residential Assessment Instrument–Home Care (interRAI-HC) assessment during the study period which—took place between July 2013 and June 2018.

Collectively, the analysis subsumed data from 103, 292 centenarians who were never diagnosed with chronic conditions studied to routinely affect early mortality like,  dementia, depression, diabetes, and hypertension. None of the participants were receiving at-home care at the time of the study.  In fact, older communities residing in hospitals and nursing homes generally tend to not live as long as those who maintain a quality life with clinical assistance.

The results?  Not smoking and an active social life posed the greatest impact on becoming a healthy, happy, centenarian. The no-smoking bit is pretty self-explanatory, but the social activities that yielded robust relationships with longevity were actually quite varied: “anything from volunteering to attending a concert to playing golf with friends offers great aging benefits.”

According to the researchers,  three out of four 100-year-olds in the study were women; a group independently studied to be less likely to develop chronic diseases compared to men. 

“Women have a longer life expectancy and are therefore more likely to be represented in centenarian studies. However, after correcting for this advantage, men who do make it to 100 years of age are more likely to be free of common illnesses,” Associate Professor Yoram Barak explained in a university release. “Electing not to smoke and committing to maintain social networking will be the best investment one can make towards successful aging,”

As of 2011, about 400 to 500 centenarians were living in New Zealand. Of this group, only 40 had reached 105 years-old.

Although not examined thoroughly in the new report, it should be noted that diet plays a monumental role in facilitating a long life.

Sardinia, a mountainous lush Italian island located in the heart of the Mediterranean sea,  (The Bluezones)  shares in New Zealands wealth of centenarians.

The countries of the Blue Zone enjoy a diet that is 95% to 100% plant-based, particularly leafy greens like spinach, kale, beets, turnip tops, chard, and collards. When these veggies aren’t in season, they can be dried and applied to the other mainstay elements that comprise the national regimen. Beans and whole grains can be enjoyed all year round and are important sources of the kinds of proteins and fibers designed to balance the additions supplied by seasonal fruits and vegetables.