What's the secret of centenarians? What do they have that others don't, what thing allows them to live beyond the legendary age of 100?
Here's an example: this is a photo of my own grandmother at 102. This was last year, as she posed outside her home in Italy. This year she had an accident. She broke her hip in a fall, and... recovered, a very unusual thing at any age over 80. By all accounts, she enjoyed her summer, even though her mobility is somewhat restricted.
In Japan, the number of people who have reached the age of 100 has reached record levels this year. The British Broadcasting Corporation reports that there are now 36,276 centenarians in the country, an increase of 4,000 over last year.
Most are women, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry. Many of the oldest people in the country live in the south of the country or on the island of Okinawa. No one knows for sure why the Japanese are living longer, but some of the contributing factors may be healthy diets, an active community lifestyle and good health care.
Another important aspect of longevity is related to brain function, apparently. Some of the oldest people in the world keep their minds vibrant by maintaining a regular routine of mental stimulation. Scientists say that doing puzzles or having a hobby that encourages concentration may be helpful in old age.
I think I'd better get started on some of those exercises.
The story of the astounding Japanese statistics is in the BBC web site here.
Want to learn more about brain fitness? See this.
Related story in Zanepost:
"Unlocking the mystery behind long lifespans in three special places."
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