STORY SO FAR: top-rated ways to live to 100

Twenty entries in to our ‘101 ways to live to 100′ and already one or two trends are emerging. Alcohol and religion both turn up in quite a few of our centenarians’ secrets to longevity, as does chocolate. So far, no one has mentioned genetics (though a few have mentioned ‘family’). And our surprise leader is mountaineering.

Our league table below is surely the only time these words have ever appeared in a list together:

9/10: Mountaineering
8/10: A loving family; Be happy and enjoy life;
7/10: A good doctor; praising God
6/10: One meal a day; sleep; hard work
5/10: ChocolateMonogamy; Guinness; Yoga; a lot of booze
4/10: Two raw eggs;
3/10: Work less overtime;
2/10: Bacon
1/10: Water from a wishing well
0/10: Pearls
No score: Good food; stem cells

Back soon with: Does a sense of humour help you live longer?

Secret no.7 Work less overtime

Women in Okinawa, Japan, live longer than just about anywhere else in Japan – on average to 87 (and, come on, that’s quite a long way to 100).

Their secret, suggests at least one report, is work-life balance. Women are more likely to be in the workforce than the Japanese average but work fewer overtime hours. How does that play out in longevity? No, I’m not sure either. The report suggests that partners have more time to raise a family and that seems a vaguely plausible reason for the study’s other main finding – that Okinawan women have more children. But longer life? Hmmm.

Plausibility rating: 3 out of 10. Fewer overtime hours by itself seems an unlikely major cause for a longer life. But there are other reasons not to work to hard as the famous quotation, variously attributed to US author Larry Kushner or politician Paul Tsongas, reminds us: ‘No one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.