I drive a lot these days. And I like to listen to TED talks on these journeys. It helps to pass the time and bring the blood pressure down. Rather be engaged and distracted by an interesting talk than focused on how someone so rudely cut in front of you. On one particular commute I was listening to “Ways to live over 100”. Now while the idea of being older longer has never appealed to me it was interesting what the speaker had to say on the topic.

His research had sampled areas across the globe that had the highest number of centenarians and found the factors common amongst their lifestyles. He listed things like a strong sense of community, daily exercise (not in the form of going to gym but lifestyles where exercise is incidental such as having to catch fish every day or walk distances to collect water), plant based diet (not meaning that they were vegetarian but that they ate a large ratio of veg to meat), tactics to avoid over-eating, religion (15 minutes of prayer and spiritual contemplation is a form of meditation and it helps bring stress levels down) and a reason to live.

I have always marveled at the youthful appearance and attitude of climbers and after listening to this talk I started to understand why we carry these traits. Our lifestyle ticks so many of the boxes mentioned above. A healthy, outdoor lifestyle that keeps us fit and trim, backed by a strong sense of community and perhaps not a reason to live but something that drives us ever onwards. And the quiet meditative like state that many of us get into before or even during a send surrounded by the beauty of nature that brings forth spiritual experiences.