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Living to 100: Iron Habits To Get You There (Maybe)

I told my wife she has to outlive me, so she better plan for 101 years! Jokes aside, I do hope to live for 100 years. It has been a preoccupation of mine for as long as I can remember. In truth, I hesitated to write this article, because I think by-and-large posts about how long someone will live are pompous, with distractingly heavy layers of personal bias, unimportant minutiae, and a general sense of smarminess. Hopefully, this article comes across in a different light.

Supplementing with greens
There aren't any magic supplements for longevity, but they play a role in keeping your body healthy and living a lifestyle where health matters

I may be sounding greedy, but I want my 100 years to be full of life, not just empty years

with a heartbeat, hanging on by way of polypharmacy. I want to be someone who pursues life the entire time I have a pulse. I want to be there to support my kids and their kids and maybe even their kids at their sporting events, performances, and hang out at their birthday parties. I want to extend what others have dubbed my "healthspan" and not just my lifespan. In truth, I'd rather live 90 years of mobile, strong, robust life than tacking on 10-15 additional years of bedridden pain.

With all that in mind, I need to mention some important factors that affect my likelihood of living to 100, because someone will complain if I don't.

First of all, we can’t control everything. There could be emergency events that shorten my life or seriously alter my life causing it to be shorter. Secondly, none of us know our genetic potential. I’m unsure if I have “good” genetics to live to 100. One grandfather made it to 92 through some health issues, and was still pretty spry til the very end. Stubborn guy. My other grandfather had Alzheimer’s and passed away at 77. Also a stubborn, tough guy, but the disease stole him from us prematurely. So am I a good candidate for 100? Inconclusive.

So here's my plan of attack, some of which will seem familiar if you've been following Iron Habits for any length of time:

  1. I will connect to others. I am having deep, meaningful conversations. I’m growing closer to God. My life’s purpose and mission grows daily. Everything we know about human life says we benefit from these connections, so engaging within my community is taking a greater role in my life.

  2. I will drink 100 oz of water daily. I drink other things too! But mostly, I drink water. It’s the life-giving substance of the Earth, so it makes sense to start there. It's boring, but effective.

  3. I will track my food. I am managing a healthy, relatively lean frame. I plan to be active until I’m 100, so I’ll need proper fuel. Healthy fats, single-ingredient carbs, 200 grams of protein will be the staples. I'll do my best to avoid eating junk, even though I know it'll inevitably happen from time to time.

  4. I will (try to) sleep 7-8 hours a night. Your mind needs time to rest and recover. Sleep reduces your stress, helps you prevent and recover from illness, build strength, learn more things, and keep you safer from mistakes that can cause injury. Without it, your health simply can not and will not be as good. Simple as.

  5. I will continue to lift weights 3-5 times a week. I want to function when I’m 70, 80, 90 years old, and I’ll need muscle to do this. Studies™ shows that centenarians maintain active lifestyles well into their later years. The 2023 Netflix docuseries Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones examined the living conditions of centenarians and how active they were. The filmmaker Dan Buettner described the locations as hilly but walkable, suggesting the centenarians were active and participating in activity that forced them to maintain some strength, particularly in their legs.

  6. I’ll keep learning new things. Learning new things brings richness to life and keeps the mind engaged to live, which is arguably as important as anything else on this list. As the mind goes, the body follows.

Yes, these are the same "Iron Habits" that I have spent years talking about, and have named my company after. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? The habits that make us healthy daily are the ones that extend our healthspan and our lifespan. That is why they've been selected. I can't know for sure if they'll get me to 100, but I have a pretty good feeling they will - as long as that's what I desire.

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