Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, credited with building the foundations of Japanese medicine and helping make Japan the world leader in longevity, often practiced what he preached.
The physician, chairman emeritus of St. Luke's International University, and honorary president of St. Luke's International Hospital recommended several basic guidelines for living a long, healthy life in an interview with Japan Times journalist Judit Kawaguchi. Among them: Don't retire. And if you must, retire much later than age 65.
In the interview he explained that the retirement age in Japan was set at 65 years old back when the average life-expectancy was 68 years old. Now, people are living much longer — the average life expectancy in Japan as of 2015 was almost 84 years — and so they should be retiring much later in life, too.
Up until a few months before his death on July 18 in Tokyo, the New York Times reports Hinohara continued to treat patients, kept an appointment book with space for five more years, and worked up to 18 hours a day. He was 105 years old.
"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. This is what was driving him and what kept him living," Kawaguchi, who considered Hinohara her mentor, told the BBC.
"He always had today's goals, tomorrow's, and the next five years'," she said.
Worry less about eating well or getting more sleep and have fun. "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."
If you want to live long, don't be overweight. "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."
Don't blindly follow what your doctor says. "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? I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine."
To conquer pain, have 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."
Always take the stairs and carry your own belongings. "I take two stairs at a time, to get my muscles moving."
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Best States for Retirement
Best States for Retirement
With a low personal income tax rate that tops out at 4.54 percent, and exempt Social Security benefits, Arizona is a great place to retire, according to Kiplinger's.
Homeowners age 70 and up can apply to defer their property taxes if they meet certain residency requirements. That's extra money that can go toward hiking equipment.
This two-bedroom end unit townhome on a corner lot in Prescott features a great room with fireplace, a kitchen with pass-thru to the dining area. There is two car garage and a bonus side-entry golf-cart garage. It's priced at $249.900.
With no state or local sales tax, Delaware can be a haven for retirees. Taxpayers age 60 and older can exclude $12,500 of investment and qualified pension income from state income taxes, reports Kiplinger. Whereas older homeowners may qualify for a property tax credit, up to $500.
Located close to the beach, this 1,350-square-foot condo with garage is in a gated community inRehoboth Beach. The home, listed at $334,900, has access to a bike path into town for dining and shopping and the boardwalk. The community features a pool with wading area and a hot tub.
There's no inheritance tax or state tax in Florida and retirement income is not taxed. Some 65 and older long-time residents of certain Florida cities and counties can receive an extra homestead exemption up to $50,000 and/or an exemption equal to the assessed value of the property, as long as the real estate has a fair market value of less than $250,000, reports Kiplinger's.
Walton Beach is a perfect place to retire. This luxury Gulfside condo with two bedrooms plus a bunk room comes furnished and is listed at $335,000. The Destin West community has a heated swimming pool, a "lazy river" pool, and large heated hot tub. There is also an elevator assisted sky bridge. The listing boasts that it is "seaside luxury with a toes in the sand location."
Up to $35,000 of most types of retirement income, as well as social security income, are exempt from taxes in Georgia, unless you're older than 65, in which case the 2013 exemption is $65,000 per taxpayer, reports Kiplinger's.
This rustic lodge-style townhome in Peachtree City, priced at $169,900 boasts a "panaromic view of the lake and babbling creek." The master bedroom has sliding door access to a private deck, where you can get one of the best views of the fireworks in Peachtree City.
Social Security, military, civil-service, and state and local government pensions are exempt from Louisiana's state income taxes. People 65 or older may exclude up to $6,000 of annual retirement income from their taxable income, reports Kiplinger's. Homeowners who are 65 or older with an adjusted gross income of less than $65,891 in 2013 can benefit from freezing the assessed value of their homestead for as long as the applicant owns and resides in the home.
This three-bedroom townhome in Shreveport sits right on the lake. Built in 1987, it has floor-to-ceilings windows with amazing views. Jessica Simpson, Nicholas Cage, and Ed Harris are just some of the celebrities who reportedly have stayed in this lakefront home, listed at $369,000.
Mississippi is home to some of the lowest property taxes in the nation, according to Kiplinger's. Residential property is taxed at 10 percent of its assessed value, and seniors qualify for a homestead exemption on the first $75,000 of value. Also, prescription drugs, residential utilities, motor fuel, and health care services are tax-exempt. In addition, qualified retirement income is exempt from state income tax.
Although there are no property tax breaks for seniors in Nevada, the good news is that there's no state income tax, no inheritance tax and no estate tax.
With a master suite on the main level, a walk-in closet, and vaulted ceilings, this 1,278-square-foot townhome -- priced at $125,000 -- in Carson City also has a laundry area and office space inside the garage.
For homeowners 65 and older who were legal residents for at least a full 12 months of the tax year, South Carolina's homestead exemption allows the first $50,000 of a property's fair market value to be exempt from local property taxes, reports Kiplinger. Senior homeowners are also exempt from school taxes on their properties.
This 2002-built condo on Golfview Lane in Summerville is on the 10th Fairway of the Legend Golf Course. With a screened porch and crown molding, the listing says this unit has only been occupied about six months of the year since it was purchased by the last owners. It's listed at $139,000.
Wyoming, one of the least populous states, has no state income tax. Prescription medications are also not taxed, nor is retirement income and social security benefits, according to Kiplinger's.
With fewer than 600,000 residents, Wyoming is perfect for the active adults over age 55 who love the outdoors. There's skiing, hiking, river sports and, of course, Yellowstone. And when you feel the urge to be a part of a larger metro-area, Denver is only 100 miles away from Cheyenne.
This 2013-built twin home in Cheyenne has a main floor master bed room with walk-in shower and walk-in closet. There's an upstairs loft and the dining area and open-concept kitchen is large enough for entertaining. It's listed at $235,000.