The cultural obsession with anti-aging takes the emphasis off what really matters: ageless wellbeing which can only be achieved with a positive mindset and proactive approach. What better place to explore an optimistic philosophy about healthy longevity than at Baptist Health Milestone Wellness Center? That’s where we asked seven healthy, happy members—ages fifty to over a hundred, to share their secrets to successful aging.
Age is just a number, right? So, are you shocked to learn you’re statistically considered old once you pass the median age of 37.8? That leaves a lot of life to be lived, considering the life expectancy in the United States is almost 79 years.
You can bet researchers are busy trying to figure out what behaviors translate into happy and healthy longevity. The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest, most comprehensive examination of aging every conducted. But even Harvard researchers were surprised at what behaviors did and didn’t make the list.
Factors traditionally suspected to be predictors of a long, healthy life, were shockingly found to be nonfactors. Those include longevity of your parents, quality of your childhood, your cholesterol levels, stressful events. The factors that did turn out to be determiners? Avoiding cigarettes, good coping skills, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, maintaining strong social relationships and pursuing education.
The best thing about these research findings? “It’s astonishing how many of the ingredients that predict longevity are within your control,” observed the director of the Harvard study, George Vaillant, MD.
I recently had an up-close and personal look at how seven Louisvillians, ranging in age from 38 years to a just-turned 100 years old, are taking control of their ability to live long and prosper.
We compared notes in a two-hour panel discussion facilitated by Jeff Howard at Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center. Sure enough, the answers of our panel of two men and five women, all Milestone members, tracked closely with the Harvard study. Here’s a decade-by-decade look at our best age-disrupting strategies and secrets.
Photos by Dick Arnspiger
Hair and makeup by Devyon for J Michaels Salon and Spa