We often hear that a little tot of something strong in the evening is the key to longevity, while others swear by nothing more than fresh air and hard work. But what is the secret to a long and happy life? We canvass the opinions of some of the world’s oldest people who were delighted to share their tips.
The oldest person ever to have lived (whose age has been verified) is Jeanne Calment (1875–1997) of France, who was 122 years old. The oldest man is Jiroemon Kimura (1897-2013) from Japan, who was 116. The oldest person to have lived in the UK is Charlotte Hughes (1877-1993), who lived to the ripe old age of 115.
Currently, the world’s oldest living person is the 116-year-old Japanese woman Kane Tanaka. She was born on 2 January 1903.
So, just what do these superhuman supercentenarians put their long and happy lives down to?
Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas lived to the ripe old age of 117 fuelled by the power of kindness. “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you”. A simple sentiment from Gertrude, but something that’s all too often forgotten in the busy lives we lead today.
Duranord Veillard, who died at the age of 111, said his secret to a long and happy life was waking up at 5:00am and doing 5 to 7 press-ups every day. On top of his workout routine, he also started every morning with a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and a cup of tea, and finished the day with fish and vegetables. As a grandparent to 12 and great-grandparent to 14, he was clearly doing something right!
Doctor Alexander Imich, a Polish chemist living in America, earned the title of the world’s oldest man in 2014 and lived to be 111. He attributed his long life to a healthy diet and abstaining from alcohol. However, since early childhood, he had also followed practices such as exercise, healthy diet, meditation and calorie restriction. He also took many different nutritional supplements over the years, which he constantly modified in line with the latest research.
The therapeutic qualities of knitting have long been known. Australia’s Alfred Date, who died at the age of 110, spent a good proportion of his later years knitting mini sweaters for injured penguins. Yes, you read that right. Alfred’s knitting talents were so well known that two nurses from the Philip Island Penguin Foundation asked him to make sweaters to help penguins that had been affected by an oil spill. As if that’s not heart-warming enough, he also made jumpers for his human friends too.
Scotland’s oldest person, Jessie Gallan, died at the age of 109 in 2015. She swore by a warming bowl of porridge for breakfast and smiling when she woke up every morning. However, more light-heartedly, she also bestowed the virtues of avoiding men at all costs. The social, active and extremely popular resident of a care home in Aberdeen, said: “My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth!”
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