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Lessons in Longevity from the Most Senior Person: 10 Tips for Enjoying It All

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For most of us, immortality is not reality. We all have to face mortality. So when is a good time to die? Do you want to live a long life, or do you want to die before you get old? I recently read an article about Walter Breuning, a 112 yr. old man who lives in Great Falls, Montana. Mr. Breuning is currently the oldest living person. So when I read that he has some tips for achieving longevity, I sat still and opened my eyes wider to take it all in. I could learn something from him.

In the article written by James O’Keefe, M.D., Breuning points out that, “If you have your health, you’ve got everything.” His tips include: Staying active in body and mind, practicing moderation, and treating others with kindness and respect.

While it may seem like sage advice, and also seems simple enough, why is it that we essentially daily rob ourselves of time on Earth? I’m just as guilty. How often do you drone through the day, just completing tasks without actively considering what you’re doing? Do you rush against the clock like I do?

I didn’t work out today, except for playing with my children. That is good for my heart, and my soul, but was it enough?
I worked today, but today’s work was mind-numbing.
Did I practice moderation today? I had 3 cups of half-caffeinated coffee, is that moderation? Probably not. But I guess it could have been worse, it could have been fully-caffeinated coffee.
Was I kind and respectful to others today? I won’t mention the person I got frustrated with while driving. I did, however, strike up a conversation with someone whom looked like they could use a kind word.

Aren’t we all works in progress? I’m continuously trying to re-vamp my outlook, and my look in general. So to that end, here are additional tips from Dr. O’Keefe:

1. Chill Out: Take a deep breath, and let that stress go. No really! Everyone knows stress can do a number on your health, specifically your heart, digestive tract, and sexual function. There is no way to completely eliminate stress from your life, so learn to cope with it in a positive manner by exercising, or doing something you love daily to help diminish stress.

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HERWriter Guide

I think Christine may have meant that Mr. Breuning is currently the oldest living MAN in the world but you're right, the oldest living person is from Japan. Interestingly, of the Top 10, most are American and all but one (Mr. Breuning) are women!

Thanks for this great post Christine. I'm sure Mr. Breuning had his bad days too but with hindsight comes insight and he reflects on the positive!

I think many of the traits that centenarians have are positive outlooks (angry people don't live to be 110) and a solid emphasis on family. They rarely "retire", in the true sense of the word. They may retire from an official job or position but they remain very active in terms of community work, hobbies, travel and the like. This is key to sustaining a long and happy life.

And Christine, you enjoy your coffee. Coffee's ok in moderation, as is a good glass of wine and piece of chocolate! The good things in life may not always be fabulous for our health but in moderation - it's all good!

November 26, 2009 - 1:00pm
EmpowHER Guest

Walter Breuning turned 113 on September 21st,but while he became the world's oldest documented living man in July,he's not the world's oldest person...there are two women born in May 1895,two more born later in 1895,and several born earlier in 1896 still ahead of him.

November 25, 2009 - 4:36pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.