The researchers say they have also found that common human vices do not necessarily need lead to an early grave, with many superagers saying they smoked and enjoyed a tipple.
“We ask them why is it that you think you are a superager, how did you get here, and there are a couple of funny ladies and they will say, well it’s because I have a martini with my friends every day at 5 o’clock. Others have never had a drink,” said Rogalski.
Being underweight also seemed to matter, with those who had a very low body mass index after the age of 80 more likely to die. “It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” said Kawas.
However, Rogalski added, that did not mean that people should take up bad habits to live longer, noting that some people might have a genetic makeup that allowed them to tolerate smoking and drinking.
Nonetheless, Rogalski thinks we can learn from superagers. “We are getting quite good at extending our lifespan but our health span isn’t keeping up and what the superagers have is more of a balance between those two, they are living long and living well,” she said.