Buettner in October 2010
St. Paul, Minnesota
Diet and supplements and exercise programs aren't what is achieving longevity. Having a faith-based community can add four to 14 years.
I think we live in a culture that relentlessly pursues comfort. Ease is related to disease. We shouldn't always be fleeing hardship. Hardship also brings people together. We should welcome it.
Inconvenience yourself: ditch the remote, the garage door opener, the leaf-blower; buy a bike, broom, rake, and snow shovel.
None of the longest-lived people ran marathons or pumped iron. They live exactly as their grandparents before them – surrounded by family and friends.
People who are making it to 100 live in environments where they are regularly nudged into physical activity.
I have always followed exactly what interests me and never really worried about the money. And when you think about it, to be able to travel the world… on an expense account and do exactly what interests you, it just doesn't get much better than that.
The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.
Select your friendships carefully. Gather people around you who will reinforce your lifestyle.
The luster of an experience can actually go up with time. So, learning to play a new instrument, learning a new language – those sorts of things will pay dividends for years or decades to come.
The newness effect of a new thing wears off in nine months to a year, but financial security can last a lifetime.
One of the big things I've learned is that there's an advantage to regular low-intensity activity.
The secret to longevity, as I see it, has less to do with diet, or even exercise, and more to do with the environment in which a person lives: social and physical. What do I mean by this? They live rewardingly inconvenient lives.
Black beans and soy beans are the cornerstones of longevity diets around the world.
Of course, Minneapolis, we think, 'Oh well, it's cold there, lethally cold.' But the reality is you adapt to weather… Humans are consummately adaptable creatures.
The brutal reality about aging is that it has only an accelerator pedal. We have yet to discover whether a brake exists for people.
Exercise, from a public health perspective, is an unmitigated failure. The world's longest-lived people live in environments that nudge them into more movement. They don't use power tools, they do their own yard work, they grow a garden.
The name of the game is to keep from pushing the accelerator pedal so hard that we speed up the aging process. The average American, however, by living a fast and furious lifestyle, pushes that accelerator too hard and too much.
Having a purpose and knowing exactly what your values are will add additional years to your life.
I know exactly what my values are and what I love to do. That's worth additional years right there. I say no to a lot of stuff that would be easy money but deviates from my meaning of life.
A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits.
I live on the water. I live in a neighborhood that's consummately connected to my neighbors. I bump into them every day. I can bike to work.
Centenarians are still living near their children and feel loved and the expectation to love. Instead of being mere recipients of care, they are contributors to the lives of their families. They grow gardens to contribute vegetables, they continue to cook and clean.
The longest-lived people eat a plant-based diet. They eat meat but only as a condiment or a celebration. Nothing they eat has a plastic wrapper.
You rarely get satisfaction sitting in an easy chair. If you work in a garden on the other hand, and it yields beautiful tomatoes, that's a good feeling.
We often think about happiness as trying to increase our joy, but it's also about decreasing our worry. So what you get for paying those high taxes is, if you're a parent thinking about putting your child through school, you don't have to worry about it, because all education through college is free.