The Secrets of Longevity: 5 Health-Buffs Who Lived to Be Over 100 Reveal All!

Elderly Couple on Swing

Blowing out one hundred candles is quite the accomplishment, wouldn’t you say? But to tout anything over 100 is certainly impressive and isn’t something everyone is lucky enough to experience. There are COUNTLESS secrets of longevity, but how credible are those tips unless they’re proven by someone who actually lived to be 100+?

There’s no need to scour cyberspace to find that one anti-aging supplement, cream, or product that will magically provide an adequate life extension on a silver platter because (I hate to break it to everyone) that certainly doesn’t exist.

In this article, you will get to know five centenarian super stars and discover their secrets for living longer! Also be prepared to see some undeniable parallels.

When it comes to life expectancy, Japan averages out at 83.7 years old between males and females. Switzerland is competing for the first spot at 83.4. The U.S. misses the 80 mark by 0.7. This is all according to the CIA World Factbook 2009. By now, the numbers may vary slightly.

Now let’s get to these longevity secrets I keep talking about…

 1  Alexander Imich

2/4/1903 – 6/8/2014 | 111 Years Old

Alexander Imich

Alexander Imich, Ph.D. was quite the science enthusiast and worked as a Chemist, Parapsychologist, and Writer. He was also the President of the New York City based Anomalous Phenomena Research Center.

Before he became a chemist extraordinaire, Alex would participate in swimming and gymnastics competitions.

This super-centenarian prided himself on having an active mind well into his 100s, but maintaining an active lifestyle was clearly just as important to him. A month before his passing, NBC New York asked him what he attributed his longevity to. He claimed that he was not only dedicated to staying fit, but he would consistently eat healthy and abstain from alcoholic beverages. His diet focused a lot of lean meats—primarily chicken and fish. Furthermore, he attributed his long life to calorie restriction.

Alexander died of natural causes at the exact age of 111 years & 124 days, which earned him the title “World’s Oldest Living Man” (certified by Guinness World Records).

 2  Ruth Coben

103 Years Old

Ruth Coben

One wouldn’t expect a person in their 80s, let alone 100s to be regularly lifting weights and practicing Pilates on a weekly basis. But apparently, Ruth sees age as just a number. In fact, she’s also a fashion aficionada and unapologetically struts her stuff so she can empower other women to do the same.

In an interview she had with Advanced Style, Ruth said she considers each and every day to be a celebration. Being less time-focused and more now-focused is another life-enhancer as well as movement. It’s doesn’t matter what exercise you pick, as long as you keep moving.

When she spoke to Huffington Post a few years ago, Ruth disclosed yet another longevity secret: living a beautiful life along with great skincare products and nice clothing. However, here at HMM, we can’t advocate for skincare products unless they’re truly natural and NOT harsh-chemical-laden, but I’m sure Ruth is highly conscious of what she’s using.

 3  Duranord Veillard

2/28/1907 – ? | 109 Years Old

Duranord Veillard with wife

Duranord was a dedicated law student growing up and led a fairly healthy lifestyle overall.

Higher education choices aside, Duranord had a daily food regimen of oatmeal, fruit, tea, fish, and vegetables. In an interview with USA Today, he said that he has been doing about seven pushups each morning for as long as he can remember.

Duranord’s wife of over eight decades, Jeanne is now 106 which makes them the ultimate centenarian power couple. Together, they are the proud grandparents of 12 and the great-grandparents of 14.

 4  Misao Okawa

3/5/1898 – 4/1/2015 | 117 Years Old ← Wow!

Misao Okawa

Misao left behind quite the legacy, not just of longevity, but in the form of four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. To date, she is the verified oldest Japanese person of all time, the oldest person in Asia, and the fifth oldest verified person ever recorded!

There are two s-words that Misao attributed to her miraculously long life: sushi and sleep. (Eight hours each night, to be exact.)

But there’s more where that came from! To nobody’s surprise, physical activity was also on Misao’s longevity list. At 102, she was doing leg squats. Up until she was 110 years old, she was perfectly capable of walking, but for safety reasons started using a wheelchair.

That sushi bit may seem a bit too simple, but many people in Japan (roughly 50,000) have lived well into their 100s, which is vastly accredited to a low-fat diet of predominately sushi and fish.

And according to The Guardian, Misao had a great sense of humor, too. When asked about her longevity secrets, she said “I wonder about that too.” And it seems like a rather strange coincidence that she passed on April Fool’s Day… Just saying. 🙂

 5  Don Pellmann

8/12/1915 – ? | 101 Years Old

Don Pellmann

His 100 years and the 100 degree weather at the time didn’t stop Don Pellmann from doing something even someone in their 30s would have a difficult time achieving.

What is this colossal achievement in which I speak of? Good ole Don set a whopping FIVE world records at the 2015 San Diego Senior Olympics! This would make him the very first centenarian to effortlessly execute the high jump, where he reached 2 feet, 11.5 inches.

Due to his incredible feats, Don was named USA Track & Field “Athlete of the Week.”

But his impressive athletic ability didn’t emerge out of the blue in his 100s. He was involved in high jumping all throughout high school. He also had an avid interest in bowling, softball, and golf.

Eldery Couple Swinging

Time and time again, physical activity tends to directly correlate to living a long, healthful life.

[Related Post: Rebounding Benefits: Top 10 Reasons to Jump like Nobody’s Watching.]

So, what about you? Even if you’re in your 20s or 60s, what’s your advice to living a healthy lifestyle that hopefully leads to many years of vitality?

Perhaps if we adopt healthy habits and don’t stray away from them, we too can become centenarians someday.

I’m also interested to know if you personally have known anyone who has lived to be over 100 or has even lived into their 90s. I’m pretty sure the oldest person in my family lived to be 89. My grandfather is pretty close to outliving that record. Surprisingly, he has NEVER stepped foot in a Doctor’s office, thanks to maintaining a healthy weight, an active lifestyle, and healthy eating habits.

Eva Xanthopoulos


  1. Hi Eva, my great-grandfather lived to be 94, was active to the last moment, and passed away with a sigh and a smile in front of me. We had a challenge getting a death certificate because there was no medical history for him as he had never been to a doctor in his life. I can’t say that his food was all that healthy, by modern standards, but it was certainly organic, as nothing else existed in communist Ukraine at the time, and it was kosher, i.e. no additives, no pork, no mixing of meat and milk. Anyway, meat was scarce, so it was mostly fish and vegetables. I think the important factor was that he ate very sparingly, just to gain enough energy to pray and to learn with his disciples. He never smoked and only drank a prescribed amount of wine (about 4 oz) to make a blessing on holidays.
    For what it’s worth, I thought I’d share.

  2. My father turns 90 this coming December. He continues to exercise 3 days/week combining resistance training and cardio work. I am 57 years old and have exercised regularly for the last 39 years. HEALTH is my passion and teaching people how to overcome years of damaging patterns is my current mission.

    I enjoyed the article and love the fact that sedentary living was not part of any of the centenarian’s recommendations!

    • That’s wonderful! Staying active throughout one’s entire life is extremely important.

      Recently, I’ve heard that movement is actually more crucial than exercise itself. How I see it is if someone spends 95% of their time sitting around and only doing an intense workout once, maybe twice a week, they’re not better off than an individual who walks often and doesn’t sit in one place for too long consistently. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t exercise. I just think people need to understand that intensity isn’t the end-all and be-all.

      And thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jonathan. 🙂

  3. I think as well as being healthy with body it’s important for the mind to stay healthy and happy. A lot of my family members have not lived as long and they became very miserable in their later years and found only things to complain about or just stopped enjoying life thinking themselves old. That’s why I believe a lot has todo with a healthy and positive attitude to life, and of course the better your mindset the more motivated you are to eat right and keep moving :).

    • Absolutely, C! It’s not just about staying active and eating healthy… Staying happy is also VERY important!

      And yes, it really is all connected. 🙂

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