On the heels of the Telomeres and the aging process comes “Lessons From Centenarians”, an article in the May 2010 issue of Smart Money. In 1990 there were 37,000 100-plus-years-old Americans. By 2040 there are expected to be more than half a million. Aside from the money issue (how much will you need to save for retirement if you aim to be 100 years old?), interviews with these folks brought some sage advice.

They agreed that you have to shift your lifestyle to avoid disabling illness and cognitive decline. Most scientists now agree that only about 30 percent of longevity is rooted in genetics; the rest is up to us. Eat right. Don’t smoke. Drink alcohol in moderation. Exercise consistently. Keep your brain stimulated; the more you continue learning, the more cognitive function you will preserve. Stay socially engaged to ward off depression, a physical and mental killer as you age.

In a nutshell, we have no choice about getting older. BUT, how we age is pretty much up to us. The future is what you make of it.

Age well, John R Blilie, M.S.