Dr Shigeaki Hinohara, one of the world’s most eminent experts in human longevity who passed away at age 105 in July of 2017, revealed to The Japan Times the foremost tip to living a long life, and it’s one you would never guess.
His two-word rule: never retire. And if you must do so, make sure it’s way later than the government standard age of 65.
The renowned physician, expert in Japanese medicine and chairman emeritus of St Luke’s International University was a huge believer in staying active both physically and mentally, and believed that continuing to work is a key component to living a long life.
He explained in an interview with his mentee and Japan Times journalist Judit Kawaguchi, that with rising life expectancy, retirement age needs to rise as well. In fact, until a few months before his death, Hinohara himself practised what he preached, continuing to see patients and working for up to 18 hours a day.
Kawaguchi explains that the brilliant doctor and centenarian ‘believed that life is all about contribution, so he had this incredible drive to help people, to wake up early in the morning and do something wonderful for other people’. The fact is, that doing is ‘what was driving him and what kept him living’.
In other words, we need to keep working to keep living. This way we are able to have goals for the present and future, and a forward-thinking mind will help us to live into that future we have planned.
Some other tips from Hinohara about longevity include staying physically lean, taking care when it comes to having surgery (maybe you don’t need it!), taking the stairs, carrying your own belongings and above all, having fun.
In his own words: ‘We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too.’