Although 99-year-old Ida Keeling uses a cane to walk, it was nowhere in sight when she crossed the finish line at the Gay Games 9 in Akron, Ohio, reported the Akron Beacon Journal. With a time of 59.8 seconds, Keeling set a record for being the first person in her age group to compete in an internationally certified 100-meter race. At 4 feet 6 inches and 83 pounds, she's in great shape and attributes her longevity to a healthy diet and exercise plan. She shared senior health tips for longevity, including doing "what you need to do, not what you want to do, and don't leave out your daily exercise," she told the Journal.
Keeping a regular fitness routine is another factor of aging well. You don't have to compete in races to enjoy the health benefits of regular exercise. Keeling works out twice a week at the gym in her apartment building, and runs through the hallways, the Journal reported. When she's not doing either of those activities, she likes to practice yoga. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults should aim to get 150 minutes of cardio and two rounds of muscle-strengthening exercises each week. That could mean activities as simple as walking for 20-25 minutes every day and lifting weights twice a week. Find what works for you and stay consistent.
A well-balanced diet is crucial to a long, healthy life. Keeling told the news source that your food choices should be based on nutrition rather than taste. Whether she knew it or not, those were wise words. In a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison study, monkeys given a low-calorie diet had a lower mortality rate and a reduced risk of age-related diseases compared to a normal diet. Eating smaller amounts and refraining from overindulging in cravings can contribute to healthy aging.
Keeling's motivation to start running was not originally health- or weight-related, reported the source. Instead, it was a coping mechanism she picked up following the death of her two sons. At the age of 67, she went for a run with her daughter and instantly became addicted to the relief she felt when she finished. Whether it's a therapeutic practice or a health regimen, find a purpose for your exercise. If you have a solid reason to stay active, you'll be more likely to follow through on the days that you may not feel up to it.