The Longevity Project concludes that those who lived the longest lived healthy throughout their lives. According to this study, healthy behaviors or characteristics include:
- Have a sense of purpose. These people had a career in which they were able to make steady progress towards goals.
- Have a social network. This would often include a spouse (especially for men), a church group, the broader community or a close group of friends. The social network looks out for each other protecting them from ill health or accidents. However, don’t let this group influence you to excessive drinking or smoking.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol excessively.
- Stay active. There was no secret exercise such as jogging for those who have lived the longest. Instead, each person would stay active with activities they enjoyed such as gardening or walking. The key was to do something they enjoyed so they’d keep on doing it.
- Be persistent. Interestingly, those living lives with low stress did not live the longest. It was rather those who aggressively pursued a career with persistence that lived the longest.
- Be prudent. These people tended to go to the doctor when they were concerned with their health. They tended not to engage in risky hobbies or activities. (Remember the SNL skit of George H.W. Bush saying “that wouldn’t be prudent”? He is in his eighties.)
- Don’t retire. Those who stayed active in their careers from their seventies to their nineties ended up living the longest.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that some of these conclusions challenge common wisdom. The list makes more sense to me when looking at the collection of traits and behaviors and not looking at them in isolation.