Centenarians Share Their Secrets to Long Life
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OCTOBER 01, 2013
Elise Solé, Shine Staff

What makes people live so long — nature or nurture? "The average person should be able to live to 90 years old if they exercise, eat well, and avoid smoking,” Thomas Perls, M.D., a professor of medicine at Boston Medical Center, the director of the New England Centenarian study, and co-author of Living to 100, told Yahoo Shine. “Before the age of 90, genetics only accounts for 25 percent of a person’s lifespan; 75 percent is their healthy habits. If a person lives past 90, we have to look to a stronger genetic reason.” Here’s how four people over 100 keep the good times rolling.
Have a boss: At 108 years old, Irving Kahn still holds down a job as a New York City investment adviser, arising at 7:00 a.m. each morning and commuting to his office on Madison Avenue five days a week. “There are a lot of opportunities out there, and one shouldn’t complain, unless you don’t have good health,” Kahn told The Daily Beast in 2011. And while Kahn clearly loves his 9 to 5, according to Howard Friedman, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and co-author of The Longevity Project, a dream job isn't a must, in order to live longer. “Our studies show that people who don’t necessarily love their jobs, still live longer because they have a greater purpose and contribute to a greater good every day,” he says.
Hit the slopes: Elsa Baily, is a 100-year-old former occupational therapist and avid skier who attributes simple health habits to reaching her golden years. “Be active. I do things my way, like skiing when I’m 100. Nobody else does that even if they have energy. And I try to eat pretty correctly, and get exercise and fresh air and sunshine,” Baily told ABC News in May. She has the right idea. According to one study published in the journal PLOS One, exercise such as brisk walking for 75 minutes per week is associated with a gain of 1.8 years in life expectancy.
Read more: Yahoo Shine