Japan’s ‘Super-Agers’: Less Eating, More Movement

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Japan's 'Super-Agers'
 Photo: AFP

Yumi Yamamoto, the Japan research president for LongeviQuest, an organization verifying the ages of supercentenarians, shared insights into the secrets of ageing from Japan’s longest-living individuals. Yamamoto, who has verified four supercentenarians this year, including Japan’s oldest person, Fusa Tatsumi, who celebrated her 116th birthday, draws from the experiences of those who have lived past the age of 110.

One key piece of wisdom from Japan’s “super-agers” is the practice of mindful eating. Yamamoto highlights the Japanese saying “hara hachi bu,” which translates to eating until you’re 80% full, leaving space at the end of a meal. This practice encourages mindful eating and mild calorie restriction, potentially reducing inflammation and contributing to longevity.

Another lesson is moderation in all things. Supercentenarians like Kane Tanaka, who lived to 119, enjoyed treats like Coca-Cola but in moderation. Yamamoto emphasizes the Japanese approach of balanced eating, avoiding excess not only in food and drink but also in lifestyle choices, such as not staying up all night.

Physical activity is a crucial aspect of longevity in Japan. Yamamoto mentions the tradition of radio gymnastics, a daily five-minute exercise guided by a radio broadcast since 1928. Super-agers incorporate movement into their daily lives, favoring activities like walking, taking the stairs, or engaging in group sports for both exercise and social interaction.

Maintaining good posture is another common trait observed among Japanese supercentenarians. Yamamoto notes the discipline and strictness in maintaining a straight back, suggesting that good posture can minimize strain on the body, prevent pain, and contribute to overall physical well-being.

In essence, the secrets to a long life from Japan’s super-agers involve mindful eating, moderation, regular physical activity, and disciplined posture, reflecting a holistic approach to health and well-being.

This article was first published by Business Insider

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