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DPA 12: 12 Ways to live to 100

Find out what you're already doing right and where you can still improve in our list of 12 ways to live to 100.
1. Be conscientious.
In the book The Longevity Project, authors Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin shared that in their research, being conscientious was one of the best predictors of longevity. That's because people who are conscientious may be more likely to abide by healthful behaviors, may be less prone to disease and may find more success in relationships and in the workplace.

2. Find reasons to laugh.
In a 2012 study published in the journal Aging, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yeshiva University identified certain personality characteristics that a group of 243 centenarians had in common. Among them? A love of laughter. “They considered laughter an important part of life,” the lead researcher said.
3. Find a life purpose.
In the centenarian hotspot of Nicoya, Costa Rica, residents cultivate a plan de vida, which means “reason to live,” according to the website Blue Zones. “This sense of purpose often centers around spending time with and providing for their family,” the site says. “This often results in centenarians retaining an active lifestyle, reaping the benefits of physical activity and exposure to the sun.” According to Blue Zones, a 60-year-old Costa-Rican man has roughly twice the chance of living to 90 as a man living in the United States.
4. Go nuts.
Eating nuts could keep you from dying early, according to a study in BioMed Central. The study, based on data from 7,000 people ages 55 to 90, showed that nut-eaters -- who in the study were more likely to have a lower body mass index and waist circumference -- had a 39 percent lower risk of early death, and walnut-eaters in particular had a 45 percent lower risk of early death.
5. Walk a lot.
The 123-year-old Carmelo Flores Laura, potentially the oldest living person documented, says he owes his longevity to regular exercise. "I walk a lot, that's all. I go out with the animals," Flores told the Associated Press.
6. Try a little retail therapy.
Who doesn't love an excuse to go shopping?! A 2011 study found that frequent shoppers live longer. The study examined Taiwanese men and women over 65 and found that daily shopping lowered risk of death by 28 percent for men and 23 percent of women, AARP reported. And if you're worried about the state of your wallet, you're in luck: The benefits hold up even if you don't buy anything, WebMD reported.
7. Be happy.
A 2011 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that among older people, the group that scored as “happiest” (having the highest “positive affect”) had a death rate of 3.6 percent -- less than half the death rate of the unhappiest group, which was 7.3 percent.
8. Win an Oscar.
Researchers from Toronto's Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre found that Oscar-winning actors and directors tend to live longer than their losing peers, with winning actors and actresses living nearly four years more than their losing peers.
9. Head for the hills.
You may hear more often about the perils of altitude sickness, but it turns out that heading to new heights may be a good move. A 2011 study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that the 20 U.S. counties with the highest life expectancy had an average altitude of 5,967 feet above sea level. That added 1.2 to 3.6 years to a man's life, and six months to 2.5 years to a woman's and lowered all residents' risk of dying from heart disease, the researchers found.
10. Do unto others.
Susannah Mushatt Jones is the oldest resident of New York state -- she celebrated her 114th birthday this past summer. What's her secret? According to her niece in an interview with PIX11 news, treating everybody fairly is one of her "standards," along with taking care of others. The only medication she takes is for high blood pressure, and her diet consists of ribs, chicken, fruits and veggies, according to the PIX11 video segment.
11. But don’t forget about yourself.
Fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who passed away at the age of 96 in 2011, knew the importance of looking after yourself. “This is where I take care of the most important person in my life: me,” he joked of the gym in the documentary How To Live Forever. “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kindom.”
LaLanne repeated his message often. also quoted him as saying: “You’ve got to satisfy you. If you can’t satisfy you, you’re a failure.”
12. Put down the takeout menu.
Here’s a reason to get cooking: A 2012 study published in Public Health Nutrition found that people who cook at home up to five times a week were 47 percent more likely to still be alive after a decade, HuffPost previously reported. The researchers looked at 1,888 men and women over the age of 65 who lived in Taiwan.
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