Secrets from 100-year-old women on how to look and feel great till a ripe old age…
A day in the life of Charlotte Falk looks like this: hitting the treadmill, browsing Facebook, maybe seeing a movie. Pretty standard—except this month she celebrates her 100th birthday. Fifty years ago, only one person in 67,000 lived to 100. Today, scientists predict that up to half of all babies born in developed countries will hit that milestone. Listen to the experts—ladies in their 11th decade and the people who study them—for their ad vice on living well now and for years to come.
First – Get off your Butt!
Can’t picture your granny dong Pilates? Well, 101-year-old Ruth Kobin has a one-hour lesson every Thursday. “I’ve always exercised every day,” says the New York City resident. “Being active is like tuning up a car engine,” explains Linda Fried, MD, interim co-director of the International Longevity Center and dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “It keeps systems running better, so even if there’s decline with age, it’s less severe.” Laura Vogel, 100 of Riverside, NY, agrees: “Exercise makes me feel sharper.”
Second – Buddy Up!
Every day Dorothy Carchman lunches with five girlfriends. “We laugh a lot,” says Carchman who turns 100 in June. “We’re the last ones out!” Hanging with the girls isn’t just a luxury. “Having meaningful relationships is critical,” Dr. Fried says, partly because the reverse—being isolated—can lead to depression and even dampen the immune system. Even the smallest interactions boost our brainpower
Third – Find a Passion and Follow It!
“See the world,” urges Nancy Trever, 100, of Torrance, California. “I visited Fiji, France, Australia, Tahiti. Those were some of the most exciting times of my life.” The idea here is simple: “Being engaged with the world gives life meaning,” Dr. Fried notes. “That’s good for your mental health and seems to lower your overall risk of dying.” What makes you happiest? Brainstorm three things that spring to mind and resolve to do more of them this year. Hands-on hobbies like scrapbooking, photography and gardening seem to score big perks.
Fourth – Apply Lipstick!
“I’ve never left the house without makeup on,” Kobin declares. Research confirms a little vanity is good for you. In a Harvard study, women who thought they looked younger after a cut and color had an actual drop in blood pressure don’t feel guilty about having a manicure and hair styling. Invite the girls and get a double boost.
Fifth – Look for the Silver Lining!
“I did everything wrong—I never exercised, I was always heavy—but I’m an optimist,” says Ruth Beinhaker, 100, of Pembroke Pines, Florida. She’s on to something: a new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute for Aging Research confirms that being optimistic can help you live a longer and healthier life, possibly because it reduces stress. Find the beauty in every moment.