The fountain of youth may be far more attainable than originally thought (sorry, Ponce De Leon). Research indicates that simple lifestyle factors can add years to your life.
Living to 100 while still looking and feeling healthy is now a very real possibility. Dr. Thomas Perls, founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, the largest study of centenarians and their families in the world, has developed a calculator to predict your longevity.
In his research, Dr. Perls noticed that today’s centenarians were not only living longer – they were living better, more active and fulfilling lives than ever before.
After a comprehensive scientific evaluation of this community, Dr. Perls was able to make sound assumptions about what factors influence longevity. Next, he integrated that research into a formula that anyone could use to predict their lifespan.
Determine your life expectancy and add active years to your life. Click here for the full version of the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator.
Women should begin calculating with a base age of 89, while men should start with 86 as their base age. Adjust your base according to the following factors:
High levels of stress can take a dramatic toll on the body. Reducing stress and learning how to control it can make a huge difference. Keeping a positive attitude about getting older reduces the harmful effects of stress.
Calculate: If you are the type of person who can shake off stress while maintaining a positive attitude, you can add 5 years to your life!
Conversely, if you feel stressed or pessimistic about the future (i.e. you are concerned that you will not look or feel the same as you do now or are worried about the aches and pains that accompany old age), do not add anything to your base age.
Dr. Perls’ research found that many of the people living longest also had immediate relatives who had lived exceptionally long as well. This does not indicate that if you had a family member die young that you will too; genes will not protect you from lifestyle risk factors.
Calculate: If you had parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles who lived past 90, add 5 years to your age. If you don’t, leave your age the same.
Obviously, there are health benefits to exercise, but Dr. Perls’ research suggests it’s vigorous exercise that can help you live longer. The best exercise raises your heart rate. The forms can vary and can include walking, running and swimming – you want to be able to talk while you are exercising, but not easily.
Calculate: If you exercise 30 minutes a day, leave your age the same. But if you don’t exercise 30 minutes a day, subtract 5 years from your age.
Exercise is just as important for your brain as it is for your body. Data proves that mind-challenging hobbies like playing an instrument, doing puzzles, or learning a new language can help fight early-onset memory loss by adding more connections in the brain and increasing your cognitive reserve.
Calculate: If you have a brain-challenging interest, add 5 years to your life. If not, keep your age the same.
Good nutrition, staying in a healthy weight range, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, omega-3s and proteins every day are key factors in reaching a ripe old age.
Calculate: If you have poor nutrition practices, subtract 5 years.
Smoking has the largest implications for your health out of any other factor. The good news is that your lungs have an incredible capacity to heal themselves, so quitting today will allow you to cut your risk of lung cancer in half in just 10 years. Click here to take Dr. Oz’s Kick the Habit Challenge.
Calculate: Subtract 15 years from your age if you’re a smoker.
Add up your total score to get your life expectancy. Whether thrilling or disappointing, know that you can make a difference in your longevity! Take control of your health and lifestyle to increase the length of your life. Click here for the full version of the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator.