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Genetics is not the main thing: 5 habits that will help you live to 90+ years

Research shows that increasing your chances of living to 90 may be due to your lifestyle, not just genetics. Writes about it CNBC.

Photo: IStock

Currently, 1 in 5000 Americans is a centenarian or a person over the age of 100, says Dr. Thomas Perls, professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of University Longevity Research in New England.

The study, which is the largest and most in-depth of its kind, has followed more than 2000 people aged 100 and over since 1995 to determine if certain factors contribute to longer lives.

Perls created a life expectancy calculator that calculates an estimated age you can live to based on answers to questions about how much you work, how often you visit the doctor, your sleep habits, and more.

On the subject: How to live to be 120: advice from centenarians from around the world

“If someone makes it to 95, it’s usually because of really good health behavior,” Perls says, as well as luck and good genes.

5 daily habits that will increase your chances of living to 90:

  1. Manage your stress levels.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Eat healthy: Follow a Mediterranean or keto diet that includes whole foods, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid excessive consumption of red meat.
  4. Exercise often: strength training twice a week and aerobic exercise three times a week for at least 10 minutes a day.
  5. Refrain from smoking.

Through another study that tracked the behavior of adherents of a religious group, Seventh-day Adventists, the researchers were able to narrow down the most important daily practices for longevity to these five.

On average, followers of the religion tended to live to 86–90 years of age regardless of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The only common theme was that they all strictly followed the five rules of conduct listed above.

"The older you get, the healthier you were"

During the study, Perls noticed that some people had doubts about longevity that prevented them from seeing the value of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Some people think that the older a person gets, the more diseases he overcomes, because they would not want to live to such an age. And this is actually a very erroneous reasoning,” he said.

In fact, he says, "the older you get, the healthier you've been."

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Perls had the opportunity to meet many centenarians, and some of them even live very active lives.

“I remember one woman, Celia, who was 102 years old. I could never find her at home,” Perls recalled. “I thought she had gone to see the doctors or something. But no, Celia played the piano at all sorts of concerts and went about her business."

"Women Win the Longevity Marathon"

Genetics also play a prominent role in all of this. Only "about 75% of life before 90 will depend on your health-related behavior," states Perls.

But by the age of 110, everything changes, and longevity becomes more and more dependent on genetics. When the researchers analyzed 200 people aged 110 and over, they found that about 75% of the ability to live that long was based on the right combination of rare genes.

There is also a strong gender component, as about 9 out of 10 centenarians are women.

“Women are significantly more successful than men in winning the longevity marathon. It is completely incomprehensible why they live so much better to such an extreme age, ”Perls shared his thoughts.

If you are interested in estimating how long you will live, use life expectancy calculator Perls. Based on your answers, you will receive a calculation of how old you can live, as well as a detailed description of tips on how you can extend your life by changing your behavior.

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