The 7 Longevity Secrets of Centenarians For Living Better

Science-backed habits from Blue Zones & some of the world’s longest-living people.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Living a long and happy life is something we all want, and while there is no guaranteed formula for reaching 100 years old, we can learn valuable lessons from those who have reached this milestone. Centenarians, people who have lived to be 100 or older, often attribute their longevity to specific habits and lifestyle choices. Ahead, we’re sharing seven centenarian secrets for longevity, including Blue Zone lifestyle habits from some of the oldest living people in the world.

Longevity Secrets of Centenarians: 7 Habits For a Longer & Happier Life 

#1 Maximize Longevity With Dietary Habits From The Blue Zones

Healthy Mediterranean diet plate, rich in olive oil, fish, and vegetables, linked to longevity

A healthy diet is everything — it sets the foundation for wellness and fuels us with the nutrients we need to thrive, so it’s not surprising that many centenarians emphasize the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. 

This includes consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, while limiting processed foods and sugars. The Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fish, and vegetables, has been associated with longevity and reduced risk of chronic diseases. 

The highest concentration of centenarians in the world live in the Blue Zones, where they generally eat based on Mediterranean principles. 

There are some other commonly seen eating principles among some of the oldest living people living in the Blue Zones. Commonly seen eating habits include eating mostly plant-based, including lots of legumes in the diet, eating until  80% full, and eating the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening. 

RELATED: 7 Essential Nutrients For Longevity (No Matter How Old You Are)

#2 Stay Physically Active 

Group of seniors enjoying a physical activity, highlighting the importance of exercise for centenarians.

While this one may seem obvious, we can’t ignore just how important regular exercise is throughout life! No matter how old you are, physical activity is another foundational aspect of supporting optimal wellness, and regular physical activity is another common habit among centenarians. 

Centenarians, such as those living in Blue Zones, are very active. Whether it’s dancing, gardening, walking, or going to the gym, staying physically healthy and active is something some of the oldest people in the world make a part of their lifestyles. 

Research shows that exercise can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve overall well-being, so no matter what type of exercise you choose to do, be sure to be consistent and integrate it into your daily life. Ready to get started? Sign up for FitOn and get access to thousands of workouts, taught by world-class trainers, including workouts for any fitness level. 

#3 Walk More 

Walking in a park, demonstrating a simple physical activity for longevity.

Speaking of physical activity, many centenarians swear by the benefits of walking, and there’s research to back it up. Research shows that walking helps ease joint pain, boosts immune function, and supports weight loss. 

In addition to maintaining a regular exercise routine, adding more walking steps to your day is important too. Try to break up long periods of sitting time with walking breaks, and schedule in daily walks as time allows. 

Can’t get outside for a walk? Take this FitOn at-home walking workout. You’ll walk a mile in place by the end of class and have fun while doing it! 

RELATED: The Amazing Benefits of Walking

#4 Cultivate Strong Social Connections & Live a Blue Zone Lifestyle

Enjoying time with friends and family, showcasing strong social connections for a happier life.

Centenarians often highlight the importance of maintaining strong social connections with family and friends. These relationships provide emotional support, reduce stress, and contribute to a sense of belonging and purpose.

According to the longest-running study on happiness from Harvard, positive relationships keep us healthier, make us happier, and help us live longer. 

Just like maintaining a regular fitness routine is important, keeping our social lives active is important for helping us live longer and happier lives. Be sure to schedule those coffee dates with friends and prioritize get-togethers with friends and family.  

If you need to add more social time to your calendar, consider volunteering in your community. Not only is the act of giving back good for your health, but it’s been found to boost happiness, and you may even meet like-minded people who may become part of your social circle. 

RELATED: 9 Mediterranean Lifestyle Habits That Are Just As Important As Diet

#5 Practice Mindfulness and Reduce Stress Like Some of The World’s Oldest Living People

Individual practicing mindfulness meditation, a stress reduction technique favored by centenarians. 

Managing stress is crucial for a long and happy life. Many centenarians practice mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, to help reduce stress and improve mental clarity. 

A study found that aging was slowed down in centenarians who lived a healthy lifestyle and had good adaptability that allowed for a positive response to stress throughout their entire lives. 

And, according to those who live in the Blue Zone of Okinawa, Japan, home to some of the longest-living people in the world, and those who live more disability-free years, stress reduction is key. Some of the commonly seen stress-reducing practices in this particular Blue Zone include: 

  • Get outside in the sunshine for at least 15 minutes per day 
  • Lean on friends for support 
  • Take 10 minutes to pray, meditate, or reflect per day
  • Garden 

RELATED: Can 10 Minutes of Sunshine Per Day Lower Stress?

#5 Have a Positive Outlook & Laugh Often 

Joyful centenarian laughing, illustrating the importance of a positive outlook and laughter in longevity.

Mindset goes a long way in living a long and happy life, and a positive outlook on life is a common trait among centenarians. A study found that centenarians had a positive character disposition and strong adaptability to the adversities in their life. 

Cultivating a positive attitude can improve mental health, boost the immune system, and contribute to overall happiness. Looking to shift your mindset to more positive thinking? Consider a daily gratitude practice through gratitude meditation. To get started, browse the FitOn meditation category for gratitude meditations such as this Gratitude Affirmation Practice or this Waking up Grateful meditation. 

Another key lifestyle habit among centenarians and those who live in the Blue Zones is to laugh often. Laughing has been shown to reduce stress and even reduce the risk of heart disease, so if you want to live a longer and happier life, don’t forget to have fun!  

#6 Get Enough Sleep

Tranquil sleeping environment, emphasizing the role of quality sleep in centenarian lifestyles.

More and more research continues to emerge on just how important sleep is for overall health. Whether you’re trying to support muscle recovery, gut health, hormone balance, energy, or mood, getting enough sleep is key. 

Centenarians have been found to prioritize getting sufficient rest to allow their bodies to recover and rejuvenate. In certain Blue Zones, an afternoon nap is also common. Napping has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, and it’s a great way to help reduce stress. 

Looking for a simple way to calm your mind and body before sleep? Try adding a FitOn sleep meditation to your evening routine. 

#7 Engage in Lifelong Learning & Cognitive Boosting Activities 

Person doing a puzzle, representing cognitive boosting activities for longevity.

Continuously learning and engaging in mentally stimulating activities is another habit shared by centenarians. This can include reading, solving puzzles, or even taking up new hobbies. Studies have shown that crossword puzzles may be particularly helpful for cognitive function, making it a great way to keep your mind sharp no matter how old you are. 

No matter what type of lifelong learning or cognitive-boosting activities you choose, remember that variety is the spice of life, so challenge yourself to get out there and try something new!

Transform Your Life With These Longevity Secrets of Centenarians

While genetics and other factors play a role in longevity, adopting healthy habits can significantly impact our lifespan and quality of life. By following the examples of centenarians, we can improve our chances of living longer and living a happier life now and in the future.