In my two decades of investigating the daily activities of centenarians, I found that everyone walked for at least 30 minutes a day, and most walked more than an hour. Aside from the proven benefits to your heart, walking is the perfect gentle exercise for improving digestion and encouraging the cleansing of the lymphatic system.
Start small: Start with just 5 minutes and build your way up to 20 minutes or more.
2. Eat 5 vegetables of different colors every day
The countries with the highest number of centenarians generally have very little meat in their diet — and many more vegetables. Numerous studies show that the different pigments in the skins of vegetables are powerful antioxidants crucial for maintaining health, preventing cancer, and protecting against environmental toxins; an estimated one-third of all cancer patients developed their disease as a result of insufficient whole plant fiber in their diets. Get started with this rainbow of produce:
- Green: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and dark leafy greens like kale
- Yellow/orange: carrots, squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes
- Red: hot red peppers, red bell peppers, and beets
- White/light: cauliflower, maitake mushroom, and daikon radish
- Dark colors: eggplant, seaweed, and black mushrooms
Start small: Start with just two different veggies, learn some recipes, and before you know it, you’ll be up to five a day. Each simple step you make can lead to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Lifestyle Tip 3. Drink 2 cups of herbal tea a day
In addition to being a delicious, low-calorie drink, tea is the beverage most commonly enjoyed by centenarians around the world. To maintain optimum health, drink decaffeinated tea with herbs that help support your liver, lymphatic system, bowels, urinary tract, and skin by cleansing and preventing a buildup of toxins and wastes in the body. Some of the best herbal teas for detoxifying and getting healthy are ginger, dandelion, chrysanthemum flower, milk thistle, hawthorn berry, and turmeric. Green tea also has many health benefits, and even with its caffeine content, (which is much less than coffee) is still an excellent choice. A good way to get started is the Tao Tea collection, powerful herbal combinations that detoxify, calm nerves, clear the mind, balance emotions, and ease digestion.
Go big: This being a relatively simple practice, you can take on a bigger challenge: drink tea instead of coffee — and get the health properties without loads of caffeine. Even black tea has a third less caffeine, and beneficial polyphenols to boot.
Healthy Lifestyle Tip 4. Stop eating when you are three-quarters full.
Something that almost all centenarians have in common is that they eat less. Many centenarians had very modest means, and as a result, they were eating less than average. They often stopped eating once they were three-quarters full. Many studies show that less food — calorie restriction — increases life span in animals. For example, excess animal protein increases the risks of cancer and kidney disease; excess fat leads to obesity and a higher threat of heart disease and stroke. Eating in this way also improves your overall digestion, allowing you to absorb the nutrients from your food.
Start small: Follow the three-quarters rule for just one meal a day. See if you notice a difference between that and eating to full capacity.
5. Commit to a cardio workout.
In many years of clinical practice and research, I have never met a centenarian that lived a physically inactive life. Cardiovascular exercise is critical to attaining your health goals and the key to a healthy heart. Effective moderate exercises include general calisthenics, racket sports, swimming (with moderate effort), cycling (at a moderate speed of 10 miles per hour or less), canoeing, and rowing (at a speed of about 2 to 3 miles per hour). A gentler overall workout is tai chi, which is also easier on the joints and balances your energy. Find a tai chi teacher or a DVD that can help you learn. Grow your longevity by exercising for 30 minute-session, 4 times or more per week.
Start small: Begin by exercising only five minutes a day, but do it every day. Incrementally increase the time by five minutes each week. By week 6, you’ll be up to 30 minutes.
Healthy Lifestyle Tip 6. Breathe your way to 100
In many cultures that have a thriving population of centenarians, it is a custom to practice meditation and other special breathing methods every day. Breathing correctly is important for dispelling the toxins and wastes from your body; in fact, it is estimated that we expel only about 30 percent of toxins in our bodies through defecation, urination, and perspiration — the rest is all respiratory. And yet, many of us have forgotten how to breathe and take shallow breaths from the top of the lungs, accumulating toxins and wastes in the body. Practice deep, slow, rhythmic, breathing daily to detoxify and de-stress: three times a day, close your eyes and breathe slowly for 10 counts.
Go big: One of the most effective ways to reduce stress, protect your heart, and lengthen your years is to meditate. Find a meditation practice that works for you and begin with 5 to 10 minutes a day.
In addition to the energy, it only makes sense that more oxygen will also boost your metabolism 90% better than food and drink. How long can you go without food? Without water? Now, how long can you go without
oxygen? That’s right, oxygen has a more dramatic effect upon your metabolism than anything else. So get breathing, feel better, and get more energized! Live the healthy lifestyle you desire.