Looking for tips to live longer? The healthy habits of so-called “super agers” may provide some insight into aging well.
“Super agers” denotes the group of adults above the age of 90 considered healthy. That is, they are not among those who have dementia or cognitive decline. Two new studies recently presented at an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting focus on this subset of the population, which has long been intriguing to researchers.
And those seeking tips to live longer may be pleasantly surprised to learn that how we age has more to do with how we take care of ourselves physically and socially, and less to do with genetics.
In one new study, “The 90+ Study,” researchers tracked people in their 90s based on physical exams, their social lives, lifestyle habits and more. The other, on “Super Agers,” focused on people in their 80s who had cognition and memory skills parallel to people decades younger.
So what are some tips to live longer, according to these studies? Forbes outlines some results.
– Keep close relationships. Social interaction played a significant role in how a person aged in these studies. People who lived longer maintained close relationships throughout their lives. Many studies over the years have noted this connection.
– Drink alcohol. Those who drink a couple of glasses of wine or beer each day were more likely to lead longer lives than those who don’t drink at all. “That’s been shown all over the world,” said “The 90+ Study” author Claudia Kawas at the AAAS conference. “I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking is associated with longevity.”
– Stick with caffeine. Modest caffeine intake – between 200 and 400 milligrams a day, or about two cups of coffee – corresponds with living longer. In fact, those who drank about this amount lived longer than those who consumed much less caffeine.
– Exercise regularly. Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise daily can have an influence when it comes to longevity. The correlation between exercise and longevity increased at 30 minutes and 45 minutes. However, the effects leveled off at an hour or more.
– Have a hobby. Many past studies have linked having a hobby to living a long life. People who spent time every day with their hobby were more likely to age well than those without a hobby.
As with most studies that comes out, there’s more work needed to fully understand everything involved in aging well. Still, researchers are well along in their journey to recognize the habits associated with longevity, as well as why the association exists.