There’s a perception that life after 60 involves a slow, yet unavoidable, slide towards disease, dementia and, finally, death. And, being healthy at 100? Forget it! We may not say it out loud, but, this is what many of us fear in our hearts. It is certainly the way that aging is portrayed in the movies and on TV.

Many of us do not fear death itself. Instead, we fear losing our mental agility, independence or health in our later years. In other words, we don’t worry about whether we will reach 90 or 100. We worry about the journey.

Is it Possible to Be Healthy at 100?

Well, if you are concerned about the future, I have good news. According to a new report by Professor Eileen Crimmins of the University of Southern California, a surprising number of people are reaching their 100th birthday in good mental shape. For example, she found that 55% of participants reached 100 without major cognitive impairment.

If anything, these numbers should improve as advances in medicine, genetics and biotechnology take hold in the future.

Why Do Some People Stay Healthier, Longer?

Scientists are still trying to figure out what makes some of us age better than others. Are healthy centenarians the first true X-Men, with genes that protect them from the ravages of time? Or, have they simply taken better care of their bodies through exercise and healthy eating? Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure, the benefits of exercise are significant for people of every age. Giving your body the love and attention that it deserves will definitely help you in the present – and it may just protect your brain in the future too.

Do you know anyone who is healthy at 100? What steps are you taking to get in great shape this year? Do you believe that healthy aging is more a matter of genetics or behavior? Please join the conversation.

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