In 2009, physician and longevity expert Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara sat down with the Japan Times for an enlightening and eye-opening interview in which he discussed his advice for a long and healthy life. While Hinohara has since passed in 2017 at the age of 105, his legacy and advice should live on.
Like many other centenarians before him, Dr. Hinohara attributed his long life to certain practices. Among them: Don’t retire. And if you must, retire much later than 65. Until just before his death, The New York Times reports, Hinohara continued to treat patients, kept and appointment book, and worked up to 18 hours a day.
“He 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,” Kawaguchi, who considered Hinohara her mentor, told the BBC. “This is what was driving him and what kept him living.”
“He always had today’s goals, tomorrow’s, and the next five years’,” she said.
Many people who live as long attribute their lives to things like a Dr.Pepper a day or staying away from men. However, Hinohara had some substantial advice that is easily workable into everyday life. Want to live to 105-years-old? Do these things!
Eat to Live, Don’t Live to Eat
For breakfast I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps my skin healthy. Lunch is milk and a few cookies, or nothing when I am too busy to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work. Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat.
Keep On’ Keepin’ On!
Always plan ahead. My schedule book is already full … with lectures and my usual hospital work.
Mother Does Not Always Know Best
At least when it comes to bedtime and the importance of eating three meals a day!
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. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.
Don’t Take Shortcuts!
To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. I take two stairs at a time, to get my muscles moving.
Rediscover Your Youthful Energy
Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. 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. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.
Contribute to Society
It has long been known that when people give up on life, life gives up on them.
“It’s wonderful to live long. Until one is 60 years old, it is easy to work for one’s family and to achieve one’s goals. But in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society. Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer. I still put in 18 hours seven days a week and love every minute of it.”
Make Plans for the Future
As mentioned above, Dr. Hinohara planned everything in advance. He plans schedules for the entire year in order to keep up with the responsibilities of everyday life.
Doctors Are Not Always Right
When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can’t cure everyone. So why cause unnecessary pain with surgery?
Conquer Pain With Fun!
Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke’s we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.
Find Your Inspiration
Dr. Hinohara said his inspiration came from a poem by Robert Browning called ‘Abt Vogler’. It talks about creating an enormous circle that is too big for you to complete in this lifetime. There must always be something more to your vision than you can see.