Secrets of Centenarians

LNWM | Retirement | March 2, 2011

Everybody is talking about how our lives will be longer and more productive in the 21st century. And, we know of just the man everybody should meet: Dr. Thomas Perls, a professor at Boston University School of Medicine and an authority on centenarians. For the past 15 years, Dr. Perls has studied people who lived to be at least 100. His work is considered to be the largest study of centenarians and their families in the world. Out of this research he developed a Living to 100 life expectancy calculator, a tool you can use to find out how long you may live.

Most people with good habits and perhaps a dash of good genes clock in at 88. The calculator consists of 40 easily answered questions about your diet, exercise activity, family and environment. It takes no more than 5 minutes. At the end the tool displays your life expectancy. Better yet, it tells you what you can do to add time to your life. For instance: gain six months by dropping that extra cup of coffee. A lot of us here at LNWM clocked in at 94; guess switching to green tea was just the ticket!

Of course the following still holds true; that a greater awareness of healthy eating, consistent exercise and environmental factors help people live longer. However, in an interview with the Boston Globe, Perls revealed that the biggest factor to 100-year olds’ long and productive lives is that they did not allow age-related diseases to shut them down:

“For the longest time, people thought that to become a centenarian you had to delay or avoid age-related disease. But we found that’s not true.” he told the Globe. “We found that all the centenarians avoided age-related disabilities until their last years. Over 90 percent of them are functionally independent well into their 90s, despite the fact that many of them had age-related diseases.”

That said, 94 be darned… 100 here we come!