Live Long and Well: Five Tips for Longevity

My father-in-law, “J,” just turned 95. He’s my health hero. J lives alone, still drives, and is in remarkably good shape. At a party in his honor, I asked him to share his secret for living a long and healthy life. “Just keep on going,” he quipped. A private man, J asked me not to use his name or photo. However, he agreed to let me share my observations.

Five Tips for Longevity

1. Do something you love.

2. Move it or lose it.

3. All things in moderation.

4. Family matters.

5. Keep a forward look.

1. Do something you love.

J grows prize-winning roses. He favors heirloom roses – the ones that actually smell like roses. Every week he tends to some aspect of their care: pruning, feeding, deadheading, cutting blooms. Each year, he replaces under-performers with new specimens, and the cycle begins again.

2. Move it or lose it.

A few decades ago, when J suffered from severe asthma, the doctor told him to move it or lose it. He started walking. Until arthritis slowed him down a couple of years ago, J walked an hour a day every day. He still participates in an exercise class once a week.

3. All things in moderation.

J watches what he eats. Although he and his girlfriend, “D,” eat out several nights a week, he hasn’t put on weight. J eats a bowl of D’s homemade soup for lunch, accompanied (for many years) by one small glass of red wine. He naps every afternoon.

4. Family matters.

J spends quality time every week with each of his sons. When asked what he wanted for his 95th birthday, he requested two parties – one at his home with the immediate family and a second in the rose garden with his and D’s family. Like us, D’s children and grandchildren value family; they welcome J as one of their own, and vice versa.

5. Keep a forward look.

Although grounded in the present, J continues to look forward, also. He and D travel regularly on cruises. When they return from one trip, they plan another. He envisions a future for himself. We are already talking about the next big party in the rose garden – for J’s 100th birthday.

Your chance to comment

Who is your health hero? What tips would you add to this list?


About Susan MacLaughlin

A health & wellness coach and workshop leader, Susan empowers people to take charge of their health.
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3 Responses to Live Long and Well: Five Tips for Longevity

  1. Tom Schweich says:

    Nice article, Susan.

  2. studiodeb333 says:

    Great tips Susan. I would add one (not sure it would make the top 5, but perhaps the top 10)… to challenge oneself. Maybe this is tied up in looking forward, but I think it’s essential to try new things, go new places, set goals for oneself, etc. to avoid sinking into rut that becomes mundane routine.

  3. Thanks for your comments. I agree that challenging oneself is important. Similarly, I am a big believer in lifelong learning. Continuing to learn keeps the brain young and life interesting.

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