People Who Live the Longest Do This

People Who Live the Longest Do This

Build anti-aging habits to make your twilight years count.

We can’t all be Jeanne Calment, a French woman who rode a bicycle until she was 100 and died in 1997 at age 122. She remains the longest-lived human in recorded history. Now, a team of researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, writing in Nature in October 2016, put forth the theory that Mrs. Calment was an extreme outlier and the maximum human lifespan is about 115 years old. 

Why people are living longer
The researchers crunched numbers from the Human Mortality Database, which consists of data from about 40 countries, and the International Database on Longevity. The data suggests that while more people are living longer, the maximum age is not increasing.

Some researchers believe that lifespan may theoretically be unlimited. Average life expectancy has climbed from less than 50 years old for people born in 1900 to nearly 79 years old in 2016. While the researchers note that this increase is largely driven by fewer childhood deaths, they also point out that there have been increases in the number of people living to old age.

Life expectancy for a given year means how long a person born in that year can expect to live. Gains in life expectancy are influenced by improved health care and improved infant mortality rates. When infant mortality rates go down, everyone sees the same benefit to their life expectancy, but when health care improves, the oldest age groups see the most benefit to their life expectancy.

115 is the longest we can live
The researchers looked data from France, Japan, the US and the United Kingdom, countries with the greatest number of supercentenarians, meaning people aged 110 and older. The maximum age these supercentenarians lived rose between the 70s and the early 90s, but leveled off in the mid-90s at age 115. They saw a similar trend when they looked at the second- through fifth-oldest person to die in a given year.

This led the research team to believe that the maximum human lifespan is about 115 years old. There will be occasional outliers like Mrs. Calment, but the lead author of the paper wrote that the chance for someone to live longer than 125 years old in any given year is less than 1 in 10,000.

Learn your RealAge for a longer, healthier life
You can’t live forever, but you can ensure your golden years are healthy and happy, by taking care of your body and your brain. Start by taking the RealAge Test, which can measure if you’re borrowing against your remaining years. If your RealAge is less than your biological age, you’re doing something right. If it’s more, that means you have some work to do for your health. The RealAge Test will deliver personalized recommendations on where to put your focus to get that RealAge down and get healthier.

The RealAge Test is all about living better, but you can live longer, too. People in five places throughout the world, called Blue Zones, have figured it out. People living in these Blue Zones have some of the world’s highest life expectancies. They move a lot, eat more beans and less meat, relax, drink alcohol in moderation and have robust social support networks. Start cultivating some of these anti-aging habits today and add years to your life.

Medically reviewed in March 2018.

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