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How to live to be 100

Highland Springs doctor shares keys to longevity

Created date

January 4th, 2018
Two of Highland Springs’ full-time physicians, Dr. Jill Studley (left) and Medical Director Dr. Mary Norman, were recently named Dallas top docs by D Magazine.

Two of Highland Springs’ full-time physicians, Dr. Jill Studley (left) and Medical Director Dr. Mary Norman, were recently named Dallas top docs by D Magazine.


When Highland Springs issued an invitation to its priority list members to the presentation “How to Live to Be 100” by Dr. Jill Studley, a physician at the North Dallas Erickson Living community, the response was overwhelming.

“We had over 250 replies almost immediately,” says Sales Director Christina Christie. “The program was so popular, we asked Dr. Studley to offer a repeat presentation.”

Highland Springs’ on-site medical center is staffed by full-time physicians, including Studley, who was recently named one of Dallas’ top doctors by D Magazine. Dr. Mary Norman, medical director at Highland Springs, was also named a Dallas top doctor by the magazine.

“One of the amenities we are most proud of at Highland Springs is our medical center and our outstanding medical team,” says Christie.

Unpacking long life

Studley opened her presentation by asking how many people really wanted to live to be 100.

Hands went up, but most in the audience offered the caveat that they wanted good health and mental function to enjoy the added years.

“Successful aging hinges on three factors: engaging with life, maintaining high cognitive and physical function, and preventing and managing diseases,” says Studley. “Some people do have a genetic predisposition to longevity. Scientists have identified longevity genes, or telomeres. The longer your telomeres, the longer your life expectancy.”

But genetics aren’t the only contributor to long life.

“There are several ‘blue zones’ across the world where there’s a greater-than-average percentage of the population over 100,” says Studley. “The Italian island of Sardinia is a blue zone, as is Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, Calif.; Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula; and the Greek Island of Ikaria.”

Diet, exercise keys to healthy living

Studley, who attended medical school at Loma Linda University, in one of the world’s blue zones, says she’s long been intrigued by the study of longevity and advocates for a holistic approach to health and wellness.

“Thankfully, research has shown that we can take steps to increase our chances of healthy living well into our retirement years,” she says. “Not surprisingly, exercise is at the top of the list. Adults who engage in demanding exercise boost their length of life by an average of nine years.”

When asked for a weekly fitness goal, Studley recommends a 45-minute workout, five days a week.

“The good news for Highland Springs residents is that there are plenty of opportunities right on campus to meet that goal,” she says. “We have our on-site fitness center, swimming pool, and your choice of fitness classes.”

Studley also touched on the importance of healthy eating, noting that the diet questions she most often receives relate to sodium levels, dairy, gluten, and meat versus vegetarian options.

“Dietary recommendations have changed substantially over the years and they continue to evolve,” says Studley. “In all things, moderation is key. And as much as possible, limit processed foods.”

Friendly and knowledgeable

Bob and Charlotte Conners live near Highland Springs and were in the audience for Studley’s first presentation.

“We had a doctor for 20 years who recently moved to Chicago,” says Charlotte. “Dr. Studley reminds me of her. I like the fact that she’s approachable and knows what she’s talking about.”