The Secret To Living A Long Life, According To People Over 100 Years Old

Listen to your elders and you too can live to 100.

how to live a long life 100-year-old woman blowing birthday candle. Dan Negureanu / Shutterstock

Want to know how to live a long life? Living a happy and long life is totally possible to achieve, just ask any person over 100 and they will tell you their own secrets to growing old.

Even if it might be in your genetics to get a rare disease and be at risk of certain health conditions as you get old, that genetic makeup only consists of 20-30 percent of your longevity

Therefore, the other 70-80 percent of your longevity in life is due to your lifestyle choices and how you decide to live your life health-wise. 


According to research (and people who have lived past the age of 100), there are a few ways you too can live to 100 and beyond while staying healthy and happy.

Here's some advice to follow from the old and wise on how to live a long life: 

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Eat a healthy diet.

how to live a long life healthy foods on table New Africa / Shutterstock

This might be obvious, but eating healthy the majority of the time or on occasion is the best way to stay healthy, especially if you're not an active person.

Eating fruits, vegetables, protein with healthy fats, and whole grains is very important if you want your body to function normally and to live longer. If you're focused on eating overly-processed food high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, it can be really bad for your health and cause you to be more prone to things like high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. 

Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of New Jersey, was interviewed by The New York Times in February 2021 and revealed that she has lived through the Spanish flu, two World Wars, and a COVID diagnosis she has had 105 years of life. Her advice to live a long life included living each day one step at a time, avoiding junk food, and nine gin-soaked raisins a day after soaking them for nine days. 

RELATED: 10 Healthy Foods That Make You Happy (& Are Healthier Than A Pint Of Ice Cream)


Make exercise a part of your daily routine.

how to live a long life old people biking pikselstock / Shutterstock

If you haven't exercised a day in your life since mandatory high-school gym class, then you probably should start now to give yourself some extra time at the end of your life. 

Beryl Netto from New York told Glamour magazine in 2015 when she was turning 100 that exercising every day was the key to success. "Take care of yourself. Exercise is the main thing. I still try before bedtime for about a half-hour. I do leg-lifts and work my arms," said Netto. 

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that the benefits of being physically active are maintaining a healthy weight, heart, and it helps with managing stress. They also recommend getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week such as taking a walk, going on a bike ride, or swimming, whatever form of exercise you enjoy.  

RELATED: 5 Stress-Relieving Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise


Keep your mind active.

how to live a long life keep your mind active man playing puzzle LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Keeping your mind active as you get older can help you be less likely to experience both short and long-term memory loss. It also can help you prevent any cognitive decline, which can contribute to alzheimer’s disease. Even if memory loss runs in your family, performing cognitive functions will help you have a reduced risk of early dementia or alzheimer's.

Paul Hitch from Savannah, Georgia celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2021 and told Eating Well that he works with his stocks almost daily to keep up. "It's challenging and keeps me up to date with what's going on in the world."

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Think positive thoughts only.

how to live a long life think positive thoughts woman holding mans arm Rocketclips, Inc. / Shutterstock

The best way to live a happy and long life is to think positively. See the glass half full instead of half empty.

Research actually proves that staying in a more positive mindset during your life can help you live longer. Being optimistic is actually linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol which is what you want because, on the other hand, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart attacks, strokes, and heart diseases, all of which you can die from.

Arlena Labon, a 108-year-old from East Cleveland, Ohio said in an interview with Fox8 News in 2016, that the secret to longevity is having a positive outlook, loving one another, and treating one another good. However, old age runs in her family, as she had a cousin who lived to be 114.

RELATED: 25 Positive Attitude Quotes To Share With Someone Who Needs A Pick-Me-Up

Sleep more often.

how to live a long life sleep woman sleeping SrsPvl Witch / Shutterstock

Oftentimes, work or nights out can get in the way of your sleep schedule but lack of sleep can also mean a shorter life. Try and take more naps as you get older or find some other way to relax daily.

Research has shown that sleep deprivation and sleeping less than five hours can lead to major health problems. These include but are not limited to, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Make sure you are getting at least six to eight hours of sleep each day.

Kermit Hongo, who was the world's oldest person in 2003,  died at the age of 116 and was known for her unique sleep habit which consisted of sleeping for two days straight and staying up for two days straight. Her grandson said they even fed her in her sleep. 

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Stay single and relationship stress-free.

how to live a long life stay single woman watching TV and knitting verbaska / Shutterstock

For some, the secret to living a long life is to stay single. That was the case for 109-year-old Jessie Gallan, who was the oldest woman in Scotland in 2015, and she told Daily Mail her secret was "staying away from men. They're just more trouble than they're worth." 

107-year-old Louise Signore from New York City also agreed and told reporter Jessica Layton in 2019 that the secret to her old age was never getting married. "I think the secret of 107 [is] I never got married. I think that's the secret. My sister says, 'I wish I never got married!'"

Now they both might have a point because constant stress from marriage and relationships can definitely age a person, according to research, and no marriage ever is stress-free.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Celebrate The Single Life — Even If You’re Tired Of Being Alone

Remember to have fun and do everything in moderation.

how to live a long life have fun old couple dancing in kitchen George Rudy / Shutterstock

In the end, sometimes when you're old you have a mentality of doing whatever you want and that can be fine as long as it's in moderation. Drinking a glass of red wine or two every day or smoking one cigarette won't kill you, especially if you do it for 100 years like French-born Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122, ate more than 2 lbs. of chocolate a week, smoked until she was 117, and rode her bicycle until she was 100.

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers news & entertainment, love & relationships, and internet culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.