How to Live to 100: 12 Simple Rules

Sure, your genes have something to do with your life span, but the doctors we spoke to agreed that you can make a big dent in your risk of chronic disease by doing 12 simple things. What's more, the following checklist isn't just a prescription for living long; it's your ticket to living well.

From Health
  • Loading

    Stop smoking.

    Four years after doing so, your chance of having a heart attack falls to that of someone who has never smoked. After ten years, your lung cancer risk drops to nearly that of a nonsmoker.


    Exercise daily.

    Thirty minutes of activity is all that's necessary. Three ten-minute walks will do it.


    Eat your produce.

    Fruit, vegetables ... just make sure you get five servings every day.

    Get screened.

    No need to go test-crazy; just get the health screenings recommended for your stage of life. Check with your doctor to make sure you're up-to-date.


    For most adults, that means seven to eight hours every night. If you have a tough time turning off the light, remember that sleep deprivation raises the risk of heart disease, cancer, and more.

    Ask your doctor about low-dose aspirin.

    Heart attack, stroke, even cancer—a single 81 mg tablet per day may fight them all. (Aspirin comes with risks, though, so don't start on your own.)

    Know your blood pressure numbers.

    It's not called the silent killer just to give your life a little more drama. Keep yours under 120/80.

    Stay connected.

    Loneliness is another form of stress. Friends, family, and furry pets supply vitamin F.

    Cut back on saturated fat.

    It's the raw material your body uses for producing LDL, bad cholesterol.

    Get help for depression.

    It doesn't just feel bad; it does bad things to your body. In fact, when tacked onto diabetes and heart disease, it increases risk of early death by as much as 30 percent.


    Manage your stress.

    The doctors we surveyed say that living with uncontrolled stress is more destructive to your health than being 30 pounds overweight.

    Have a higher purpose.

    As one physician advised, "Strive to achieve something bigger than yourself." By giving back, you give to yourself.


    Want to stay smart and healthy?

    Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    • Dannie

      Instead of “stop smoking,” you should have included, “NEVER USE TOBACCO IN ANY FORM” including so-called “electronic cigarettes,” which emit poisonous nicotine.
      More importantly, you should be telling EVERYONE to AVOID TOXIC TOBACCO SMOKE and to work to BAN ALL SMOKING, EVERYWHERE, INDOORS AND OUT!
      The tobacco pushers and their tobacco drug KILL 14,000 addicts and another 1,800 innocent people (who were exposed to TOXIC TOBACCO SMOKE) around the world, EVERY DAY!

    • Gautam

      Knew how helpful de-stressing is; surprised to know that stress is worse than 30 lbs overweight,That is a lot of burden due to stress.

      Gautam Desai    

    • Tarika

      Every guideline to a good life that you have given is very true. I believe and have been following them since a long time ,thus i have been very happy with life.Hope all those who read this article,do follow it ,it needs alot of willpower,but they will surely succeed.God Bless All.

    • Shehzad

      Great RD , You people dont just sell the Digest , you sell something more than  quantifiable.

    • Joseph Estep

      I am 75 years old and am in good health. I make it a point to stay away from doctors and the pills they offer. Why is it that doctors don´t live to be 100 years old?

      • Hothead3377

        You are a very smart man. I am 48 and have not taken a prescription or over the counter drug in over 10 years.One drug leads to another and another. They are all toxins that build up in your liver and body.

      • Paulharidas

        Smart question indeed!
        My dear! doctors r human being with flesh and bones like u and me. They r telling u what to do and what not to. But do they follow the same set of rules for themselves? Also, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, gene contribute a major part in our life.

      • Mitchell

        And why should we believe you?

    • Fiddich

      Quality, not the number of years is more important.

    • Arti Bhatia

      quite informative and v true , though most of the things are known to people but untill and unless v read abt it or listen to some one v don ‘t give attention to it…gr8 …

    • Emsri

      Thanks for posting a very interesting article. be a vegetarian.Drink lot of clean water mostly early in the morning.Better avoid alchole are some tips.

    • Rvilladelgado9

      Thanks for these valuable tips. However, I can’t help but notice that the models in your photos are all women and men are simply in the background. What is the message that you are sending? That women are more prone to stress than men? I wonder.