Advice from people 110 and older for ‘a long and happy life’

Longevity experts Héctor García and Francesc Miralles studied the longest-living people in the world to write “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.”

While researching, they learned that there are around 300 to 450 people in the world who are aged 110 and older. These people are often referred to as supercentenarians.

“They aren’t superheroes, but we could see them as such for having spent far more time on this planet than the average life expectancy would predict,” wrote García and Miralles. “A healthy and purposeful life could help us join their ranks.”

García and Miralles went on to compile quotes from interviews they found with supercentenarians and devoted an entire chapter in their book to the wise advice.

Here’s what three of the supercentenarians in García and Miralles’ book suggest for living a long and happy life.

‘Everything’s fine.’

Keep your mind and your body busy and ‘you’ll be here a long time.’

Walter Breuning was born in Minnesota in 1896, and lived to see age 114. Breuning earned the title of the second-oldest man on record ever to be born in the U.S.

He followed the longevity tip of not retiring early by working for 50 years as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway. Breuning didn’t retire until he was 83 years old, and even then, he saw value in always learning and moving.

“Your mind and body. You keep both busy,” Breuning said during an interview on his 112th birthday, “you’ll be here a long time.” At that age, he still exercised every day, according to García and Miralles.

‘I still do some of the things I did when I was in school.’

María Capovilla, who was born in Ecuador in 1889, was the oldest known person alive until her passing in 2006, according to the Guinness World Records. She lived to age 116 and was less than a month shy of 117.

Capovilla was a mother of three and lived to see her 12 grandchildren and 20 great- and great-great-grandchildren, wrote García and Miralles. When asked about what she attributes to her longevity, she said she didn’t eat meat throughout her entire life and danced often.

During one of her last interviews when she was 107, Capovilla said, “I like the waltz, and can still dance it. I also still make crafts, I still do some of the things I did when I was in school.”

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