It's easy to live to be 100, according to the people who have already done it. But how about topping the 125 mark? Last weekend, a woman in Mexico named Leandra Becerra Lumbreras laid claim to being the world's oldest living person at 127.
Lumbreras, like many others of this advanced age, falls under the category of claimant because during her long life she lost her birth certificate and cannot prove her claim. This means that Guinness does not recognize her achievement. The title of oldest human still technically belongs to Misao Okawa, pictured above, who is a girlish 116 and lives in Japan.
Today, more than 50,000 people in the United States are bona fide centenarians. Access to medical care, food, and clean drinking water has allowed a much larger percentage of the population to live into their golden years. But almost every centenarian (or supercentenarian — the term for people over 110) has advice on how they got that way. We decided to put together a foolproof* daily schedule for you to follow so that you, too, may live to meet your 55 great-great-grandchildren.
*It is not foolproof.
9:30 a.m.: Wake up late, and as a woman.
Lumbreras is just the latest longevity champion to claim an affinity for sleeping leads to more time before your eternal rest. Don't waste your golden years on mornings. Turn off the alarm!
More than 80 percent of centenarians are ladies, so if you want to make it into the century club, we highly recommend being a woman.
10:00 a.m.: Stretch and walk a mile.
Almost every person interviewed about their secret to long life credited low-impact exercise. Very few of them are marathoners or triathletes: Golfing, walking, and yoga all fit the bill. Ideally, you are living in a vibrant urban area with lots of sidewalks and community centers (like 85 percent of your fellow centenarians), so it shouldn't be too tough to find a friend to chat with while you amble around the block.
11:00 a.m.: Brunch!
You woke up a bit late. That's OK. That just means you're closer to brunch time. Make sure you mix some lean protein and fruits and veggies in there — most centenarians say a good diet keeps them young. And definitely keep up your coffee or tea habit: Science is not totally sure what the connection is, but caffeine keeps you alive longer.
12:30 p.m.: Learn something new.
An overwhelming majority of people who are active and engaged into their 100s say the mind must remain as agile as your body. You already worked out the latter, so it's time for the former. Do the crossword puzzle, play bridge with your friends, or take a class.
2 p.m.: Snack time!
Lumbreras says chocolate has been one of the keys to living well (and doctors agree). Nuts are also a good choice. Just make it something you enjoy.
3 p.m.: Nap time!
In addition to a good night's sleep, many centenarians say they indulge in a siesta. On the Greek island of Ikaria, renowned for its population of healthy elderly people, one resident said, "We wake up late and always take naps." Researchers at Harvard agree with them.
4 p.m.: Meditate.
Stress kills. At the very least, it leads to inflammation. Which also kills. Get some "oms" in after your zzzs to decompress.
5 p.m.: Bible study.
Or Torah study, or Confucian philosophy discussion, or whatever. Strong religious beliefs are a frequent centenarian characteristic.
6 p.m.: Dinner with family.
Another common factor is living with or close to people you love. Married people and parents generally live longer — having adult children to help you out and keep an eye on you also helps. Have only two children and make 'em twins to max out this advantage.
8 p.m.: Booze it up with friends.
Almost every centenarian interviewed agrees a glass of wine or a tumbler of scotch is a daily indulgence. Small amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure and help relieve stress, and red wine has a whole bunch of other good-for-you properties.
Being social and laughing are both positively correlated with long life, so walk to your local watering hole (getting in some more of that all-important exercise) and meet up with your friends. For your health!
Doing any of these things will help you live longer — presumably so you'll have more time to humblebrag about it.
11 p.m.: Have sex and go to sleep.
Getting it on burns calories while fostering closeness with your spouse or partner. Then you circle back to a foundational good night's rest.
Rinse and repeat the above steps for the next hundred years or so. As they say: Live forever or die trying!