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People Age Better if They Have This

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that having a purpose in life helps you maintain function and independence as you age, Time Health reports. Purposeful living has already been linked to longer life, lower disease and better sleep, Time said.

You don’t have to suffer as you age, and you don’t have to be relegated to sitting in a chair until the end of your days, and there are lots of ways to live out your golden years to make them the best years of your life. As exemplified by Sardinia, which boasts the highest rate of centenarians anywhere in the world, positive attitudes alone can boost your life and give you reason to go on. By their example, longevity is what you make it.

But whether you’re looking at Sardinians or any other centenarian, they all tend to have positive attitudes, optimism, a zest for life and a good sense of humor. Other commonalities include an active lifestyle; a fresh-food diet, often homegrown, and a strong social network.

Hundreds of centenarians have been interviewed about what they believe explains their long life, and 10 key themes have been identified. Besides keeping that positive attitude, they include: moderate exercise; eating good food; staying mentally active; not smoking or drinking; and having a faith or spirituality to keep them going.

And while there is no magic bullet when it comes to aging well, generally speaking the better you treat your body throughout your life, the better your aging experience will be. That’s where exercise comes in. And by exercise, I mean that it not only keeps your body going, but can actually make your brain as much as a decade younger than your calendar age. Exercise improves memory and cognition, and helps stave off dementia. Strength training — and working your leg muscles in particular — has been shown to have a particularly strong impact on brain function and memory.
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