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Longevity Secrets How to Live to 100

Nine Longevity Secrets and Practices From Around the World

Suchi Rudra

For centuries, humans have turned to specific foods, exercises and lifestyles to keep their mind and body in top form — and to extend their lifespans. If you think that’s a pointless pursuit given your genetic makeup, think again. A Danish study concluded that only 20% of our aging process is due to genetics and a whopping 80% depends on our lifestyle. That means you may have the power to largely control your health and your longevity through your diet and mind-body wellness practices. Even better, we can learn from other cultures that have established positive outcomes for generations. Read on to find out the longevity secrets and tips for a healthy life from around the world.

Nine Longevity Secrets From Blue Zone Cultures

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Blue Zones, five very special places around the world with the highest percentage of centenarians. These longevity hotspots are:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Loma Linda, California
Longevity Secrets from Sardinia Italy

A group of researchers went into these communities to learn more about their longevity secrets and discovered that the lifestyles of their centenarian residents had nine specific characteristics in common. These became known as the Power 9:


Natural Movement

Forget the gym or that morning jog — Blue Zoners all reside in places where they have to naturally move their bodies all day, like walking to shops instead of driving and gardening without the help of electric or gas-powered tools.


A Sense of Purpose

Do you have a sense of purpose in life? Knowing what gets you up every morning can give you up to seven years of extra life expectancy.


Taking Time to De-Stress

Everyone inevitably experiences various kinds of stress in life. But having a routine or ritual to de-stress every day is vital to lessening the harmful, aging impact of stress on your mind and body. For example, Okinawans pause daily to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians have a siesta and Sardinians enjoy a happy hour.


Eating Light and Less

Don’t eat to feel totally full — just 80% full. According to the researchers, this Confucian mantra that Okinawans adhere to could make the difference between losing or gaining weight. Blue Zoners also eat their smallest — and their last — meal in the late afternoon or early evening.


A Plant-Based Diet

Better load up on your legumes: fava beans, black beans, soybeans and lentils are what you’ll have to eat to make it to 100. Meat, usually pork, is eaten just a few times a month in small 3- or 4-ounce portions.


Happy Hour

These centenarians know how to enjoy their extended lives. All of them, excluding the Adventists, drink one or two glasses of alcohol (often wine) per day, but always with friends or with food, which is key.



Almost all of the centenarians included in the study were part of some kind of faith-based community. And for good reason: research has shown that attending religious services may help you live longer. If you’re not religious, you could try meditation or other centering activities to connect with your inner self.


Surrounding Yourself With Family

Keep your family close, including aging parents or grandparents. Living with them was also shown to decrease the rates of disease and mortality in the children of the household. Blue Zoners usually partner for life, which can add up to three years of life expectancy.


Forever Friends

It takes a village to live healthier and longer. The world’s oldest citizens were part of social circles (by choice or by birth) that supported healthy behaviors and research shows that happiness is contagious. One example: Okinawans created moais, groups of five friends who are committed to each other for life.


More Practices for Healthy Living


Ayurveda (in Sanskrit, ‘ayur’ means knowledge, ‘veda’ means life) originated in India over 3,000 years ago as a natural system of medicine designed to be a scientific guide to live a long and disease-free life. This plant-based practice is all about preventing and healing disease through diet and various physical therapies based on an individual’s “dosha” or mind-body characteristics. The three doshas incorporate the five basic elements of our world:

  • Vata (ether and air)
  • Pitta (fire and water)
  • Kapha (water and earth)

You can determine your dosha type with a free online quiz like this one or by consulting a practitioner of ayurvedic medicine, who can then advise you on what Ayurvedic herbs and practices to incorporate into your lifestyle.

According to Ayurveda Institute, ayurveda has a term specific to the practice of anti-aging, Rasayana, which in Sanskrit refers to clearing the channels of the body and mind for the natural flow of matter and energy. Rasayana is meant to help people of a mature age stay in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally, through a combination of a nourishing diet, wholesome activities and gentle herbs, according to the Institute.


While yoga became popular in the last few decades in the Western world, it’s another ancient practice that has its origins in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in north India about 5,000 years ago. Sure, the deep stretches, meditation and breathwork will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and flexible — but most importantly, a regular yoga practice adds another anti-aging tool to your belt. Studies have found that yoga, like other mindful wellness practices, can actually change your body at a cellular level and reverse the process of cellular aging. Yoga also has a positive impact on the brain, which can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Longevity Secrets Tai Chi Yoga Meditation

Tai Chi

Even with its slow pace, tai chi, which has its foundations in the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, is actually considered a martial art. But this easy-to-learn Chinese practice is especially excellent for those with chronic pain, joint pain or any kind of mobility issues. Aside from improving balance and mental health, tai chi is known for lowering blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and strengthening blood vessels.

Macrobiotic Diet

While frequently moving your body is vital to leading a long and healthy life, your diet cannot be ignored. The two go hand-in-hand. The Japanese philosophy behind the longevity-promoting macrobiotic diet is all about finding balance, yin and yang through whole, unrefined plant-based foods like:

  • Whole grains and legumes
  • Seaweed
  • Tofu
  • Lean fish
  • Minimal dairy

Although based on the centuries-old Japanese “zen diet,” macrobiotics was officially established at the end of the 19th century by Sagen Ishizuka, a Japanese army doctor who applied western scientific principles to the Zen diet and stated that:

  • Food is the foundation of life, character, constitution, happiness and health or sickness.
  • Sodium and potassium are the primary antagonistic and complementary elements in food. They most strongly determine its character, or “yin/yang” quality. Food must be balanced in its contents of potassium and sodium.
  • For mankind, the main staple food is grain.
  • Food should be unrefined, whole and natural.
  • Foods are best if they are grown locally and eaten in season.

Sauna Culture

Boosting wellness and longevity by sweating out toxins and increasing your heart rate has been around for centuries, as evident by the Northern European sauna traditions, Russian banyas, Turkish hammams and Native American sweat lodges. For example, Finland has over 3 million saunas for its population of 5 million.

Finally, science has caught up to age-old wisdom, confirming what certain cultures have long known to be true — a 2020 study found a link between frequent sauna bathing and benefits to mental and physical health, including a reduced risk of dementia.

A healthier lifestyle certainly promotes longevity, but it also allows you to live a more enjoyable life on a daily basis. What more can you ask for? Try out any of these wellness practices. Hopefully you’ll not only feel better — you’ll also be transforming into the best version of yourself.

What kinds of longevity practices and habits do you incorporate into your daily routine? Tell us about them in the comments.

36 Responses to "Nine Longevity Secrets and Practices From Around the World"
    • Kamlaker (JAY) P RAO | November 7, 2022 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks for the article. I became a vegetarian 33 years ago.
      For the last 20 years, people have commented that I look 10 to 20years younger than my age.
      I am 81 years. When a nurse made house call she said I could pass for a 60-year-old man. My father died at the age of 94. He has been a vegetarian for the last 90 years of his life, he always took care of himself, he rarely got sick. I have seen others who have been vegetarians they look much younger for their age.
      I also have been doing yoga and breathing exercises (pranayama), which brings my heart rate down to 45 bpm.

    • AyurPrakash | September 1, 2022 at 11:23 pm

      Hello, Thanks for sharing such an informational blog.

    • Aubrey Seabrooks | February 16, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      Good news

    • Howard N Horton | February 2, 2022 at 4:59 am

      Your advice is good but I have to eat lots of meat to increase my platelets.

      My secret of longevity is run hills. I made several runs of 8.2 miles on a course at 7,000 feet to 9,000 feet. Don’t overdo, listen to your body. On my next birthday I will be ninety years of age and I still do a little work every week. I hope to live to 110 years of age.

    • Nicolas Ruiz | January 30, 2022 at 5:03 pm

      Great article. I have been interested in the Blue Zones for a few years and I’m looking forward to fully adapting their secrets this year. It makes it easier that I have already been following some of their secrets , such as walking, gardening, yoga and a mostly seafood vegetarian diet.

    • Robbie Johnson | January 30, 2022 at 12:18 pm

      Really refreshing to read. Very special to come from a company that I am already associated with and trust rather than a bait and switch ad. Thank you.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 31, 2022 at 9:55 am

        Robbie – Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading. We’re glad you enjoyed the article.

    • Eileen M. DeAcetis | January 30, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      Very informative article. I have always been active. Exercising daily. Had knee replacement, and have some back issues. Your information on yoga and tai chi very helpful. Will look into those areas. Thank you.

    • Pat Sherman | January 30, 2022 at 10:46 am

      Totally agree with the prior writer—extremely interesting article and no sales pitch. Declutter article also was helpful.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 31, 2022 at 9:56 am

        Pat – Wonderful to hear. Thanks for reading!

    • Jerone Lee | January 30, 2022 at 9:06 am

      I adhere to the Mediterranean diet, and for the last twenty-three years, I have only eaten what I have
      prepared. The liquids I consume are extracted from Fruit, grains, vegetables, and nuts. I work out at the Jim three to four days out of seven. I also have isometric equipment at home.

    • Steve Lacina | January 30, 2022 at 8:57 am

      It’s a very good read about longevity and concise. Thank you for this kind of information

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 31, 2022 at 9:57 am

        Steve – Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading!

    • Mike Juarez | January 29, 2022 at 8:03 pm

      I am pleased to have received your article on Longevity Practices and Habits to enable humans to reach for Centenarian Age. I currently jog and walk up a small Mountain near my house to relieve some stress. I then do the Sauna for half an hour. Afterwards, I do some Isometrics with my “Dosha” for final relaxation and de-stressing mode. I also try to follow the Japanese Longevity Promoting Diet of whole unrefined Plant based foods.

    • Peter Brandt | January 29, 2022 at 7:22 pm

      My wife and I are lucky enough to have a city apartment and a country house. We physically built both, 11 months renovating completely the apt., and building a house over 15 years. We travel back & forth every week and maintain both ourselves. By travelling b&f we have to remember so many things to bring and to take with places. The house is two story and walk the stairs 20x a day. In the city we walk everywhere in Morningside Heights with 3 parks around us. We are ACTIVE at age 75. We shop selectively at 4 supermarkets. I chop myown wood for the fireplace, that why I’m warmed twice. I climb a ladder at least 2x week to water my house plants. Between shovling snow blowing leaves and picking weeds, I`m up and down often. We are blessed and happy !

    • Meridith R Lewis | January 29, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      As an 86 year old, read with interest your article on longevity. For the last 9 years i have been following the 10 things to Better Health, Jan-Feb 2013 for a longer healthy life published by AARP. Some of them coincide with your Power 9 items: 1. Throw a party (socialize) 5. Raise a glass of wine or beer. Other items to do to relieve stress & anxiety. Yours is a good article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sheldon Steve Eiss | January 29, 2022 at 5:21 pm

      your advice is well taken. it makes a lot of sense. i like the computer qiuzes that test memory and intelligence.

    • Nancy Charbeneau | January 29, 2022 at 5:01 pm

      I enjoyed the article and examples very much. I also am an artist plus a gardener and sometimes combine the two. I think the mind-body connection is important to keep both in top working order. Yoga/meditation is one but there also learning new dances, playing an instrument and learning other languages.

    • Ken Hill | January 29, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      Great information, I highly agree with these lifestyles, they are important for keeping ourselves healthy, mobile, with a pease of mind. I been doing tai chai and stretching for awhile. Both help me to stay active with low anxiety and stress under control.

    • Barbra | January 29, 2022 at 2:51 pm

      Being happy!

    • Carol Lynn Allen | January 29, 2022 at 1:02 pm

      That was so informative and encouraging 👏. I so appreciate you ❤ for the research and the education and edification.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 31, 2022 at 10:48 am

        Carol – We’re so glad you enjoyed the article.

    • Patrick Regan | January 29, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Like Frank Sinatra sang My Way
      That”s how I will live my life.
      My Way!

    • Jeanette Dickson | January 29, 2022 at 12:05 pm

      I’m happy to see that the lifestyle one leads determines more of your health wellness. My three siblings have health issues that I don’t suffer from in my life. People along the way have contributed to many of my current activities. I remember meeting / hearing Dan Buettner at the Antarctica Institute at Hamline University . . .he had just returned from his bicycle trip around the world. I was so impressed by this young man and his ability follow his dreams. At almost 83 years I walk daily about two miles when not hiking, line dance, bike, kayak, practice Tai Chi, quilt, read, do Sudoku, etc. Also, have a fantastic cockerpoo who has done lots of classes, including dog agility and becoming a wonderful therapy dog. . .of course, Miss Buffington also goes hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. And she is in wonderful health, as well, at almost 15 years! I do believe your life style can change your life! Thank you for this article and for Dan & his team for their research!

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 31, 2022 at 11:32 am

        Jeanette – Thanks for reading and commenting! Since you have a therapy dog, you might also enjoy this article about pet therapy.

    • Nancy Belcher | January 29, 2022 at 11:50 am

      Thanks for the info , great for new leafs to turn over

    • Barbara | January 29, 2022 at 10:49 am

      Truly enjoyed this article.

    • HAYES PARKER | January 29, 2022 at 10:29 am

      This article was really well done, thank you!

    • Mariceil Bergerson | January 27, 2022 at 11:45 pm

      Very nice to have information on leading topic, & not have product or book pitched at the end of a long video. Thank you! Mariceil Bergerson

    • Mariceil Bergerson | January 27, 2022 at 10:47 pm

      SoVERY NICE to read an article that actually gives u information on what the heading is without a few seconds of maybe 1 thing, then rest is selling something. Glad I didn’t assume this would be the same. I had a grandmother live a little past 100. Grandfather was 95, as was another grandmother. Other grandfather died at 57, but was iverweight

    • Sally Donovan | January 27, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      Besides being on the NOOM program which focuses on overall well being I think personally two things help me.
      I am an artist/ oil painter . I would add that the interest is more than a hobby as I sell and show my works. I believe it helps longevity for one to do something with their hands as a quiet therapeutic activity or interest.
      Next, i am a widow and have the wonderful company of a German Shepherd who is now 9. We go to an agility field together and schedule,play times for great ball games. Exercise for both of us.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 28, 2022 at 8:14 am

        Sally – Aren’t dogs the best!? Happy New Year!

    • Velma L. Daigle | December 18, 2021 at 11:32 pm

      First time on the sight. I relax and relieve stress by watching the game shows and pretending to be a contestant. I have won many trips on Lets make a Deal. This show comes on in the morning so my day begins with relaxion.
      I also walk in my block.
      However the telemarket robo calls stress me out a lot. Do you know how to unstress when they just keep coming all day long?

      • Greg S | January 29, 2022 at 1:56 pm

        On robo calls first I sign up my phone number with
        Then I don’t answer those calls that are not in my phone directory. So instead of my screen telling me who is calling it just shows a number. Of course this is tricky if you are expecting a one-time call from someone who is not in your directory. If they don’t leave a message I also block them on my phone by going to “i” for information on those numbers,
        I lastly report them to AT&T by texting those numbers or email addresses to “7726” as AT&T said to do,
        I don’t have very many crank calls any more, but some,
        Greg S.

      • Thomas | January 29, 2022 at 6:30 pm

        I cannot agree with you more! I have received those robo-calls to such a point that I once counted 20 in a day. I take my phone off the hook at night, or whenever I do not want to be disturbed.

    • Thomas Small | December 15, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      I believe this was a very well written article. Very interesting tips to live a longer life.

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