Today in the United States, people who are living to 100 represent the second fastest growing age group in the country, according the US Census Bureau Projections. People over 85 are the fastest growing age group.

If you think about it, it does make sense. Here we are, 60-plus and writing articles on how to age healthy, how to make our money last, how to stay engaged, be employed, do what turns us on.

We wouldn’t be writing and reading about these things if we didn’t believe that we, as a group, will be older, fitter and longer-living than the last generation. 85 doesn’t seem so far off, but 100?

Today, a 10-year-old child has a 1: 4 chance to reach the age of 104. In 1990, 1 in 10,000 was a centenarian in the USA; four out of five being women!

We are somewhere in the middle of these statistics. If you’ve made it to age 60 or above, many of the factors that determine how you will age are in place, such as genetics, current health, wealth.

There is also another important factor, and that is how you view yourself and your future; your attitude, or simply, your “self.” To live to 100 and enjoy it, however, takes planning.

Living to 100: How Are You Staying Healthy?

Movement

Exercise, strength training, health care and diet are the factors you have control over when you are 60-plus. The benefit of regular exercise, even for people of advanced age, is now an accepted fact. We may not live on the farm anymore, and we’re not nomads, but we need regular movement to support our health.

If you consider that from age 30 on you lose muscle mass at a rate of 3% a year, strength training becomes an important part of maintaining health and strength, which converts to improved balance and lower injury rate.

Lift, pull, push, bend and turn with those limbs to keep yourself from freezing up and becoming frail. Looking thin maybe the fashion, but over 60, thin can mean less muscle mass.

Diet

Diet, in this case, has nothing to do with losing weight. However, it has a lot to do with adhering to a nourishment plan that builds muscle (protein), has anti-inflammatory qualities (vegies, fruits) and provides sustaining energy (slow metabolizing carbs, healthy fats and proteins). It is an important part of maintaining your health.

Our bodies change as we age and so must our diet! At 80, you cannot eat the quantities and types of foods you ate in your 20s without ill effect.

Health Care

Do you have access to quality care when you need it? Do you get regular check-ups and preventative tests? Are you immunized against painful (shingles) or hard to fight off diseases (pneumonia)?

My father, always a healthy man, complained in his late 70s that his life was full of doctor’s appointments, even though he wasn’t ill. Staying healthy takes time. Dental work can be time consuming, and as we age, there will be more of it.

How Are You Maintaining or Growing Your Wealth?

The census data show that living to 100 is not related to wealth or education. The building blocks for aging are mostly in place by age 60, and wealth is not one of them. How you live to 100 may have something to do with wealth and education.

As long as Social Security holds out, we’ll all have some, albeit minor income we can count of for life. If you are lucky to receive a pension, I hope you set yourself up for receiving benefits as long as you live.

If you live, or must live, off the assets you’ve acquired during the first 60 years of your life, you can still grow these assets or turn them into life-time producing income.

Talk with a financial advisor. Keeping a job, or taking a job after age 60, can be a great way to support and/or grow your income. In the USA, there is no mandatory retirement age as there is in European countries; count yourself lucky in that respect.

You can learn to live on less, move to a cheaper location or country to stretch your assets. Does it sound overwhelming? Then read on about attitude and maintaining self.

How Are You Maintaining Your SELF?

Thinking of yourself as someone who will live a long time is half the battle in aging. If you see yourself (and feel) as healthy and capable, your confidence will carry you a long way. Regular exercise, positive health checks, a modest but reliable income, all work toward improving your attitude about living and aging.

With a positive attitude toward aging you can re-invent yourself up to advanced age. If you continue learning and moving the edges of your comfort zones by engaging in new activities and adventures, you will increase your vibrancy and make aging look and feel fun!

Planning for aging in place, being part of a community that supports independence and making new friends all count toward maintaining a vibrant SELF.

Does the idea of living to 100 appeal to you? Why or why not? How are you staying healthy? What are you doing to get ready to live to a healthy and happy 100 years of age? Please share your thoughts below!

Dami RoelseDami Roelse encourages her clients to live life with engagement. She blogs and coaches women 50+ to walk, hike and backpack. Her book “Walk Yourself into Wellbeing” is forthcoming in September of 2017. You can find out more about Dami at Transformation Travel.

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