Say “Hi,” and Live to be 100

The other night at the grocery store people were scurrying about grabbing last minute Valentine’s gifts before heading home after work. I was grabbing some chicken to grill when I ran into my yoga friend, Pete. I was caught off guard to see him at the grocery store; this location was out of context. Like many of the guys in the store, he had a bouquet of flowers in each hand and was wearing a suit. I had never seen him in a suit before. We fist bumped, and he said, “I’m headed that way are you coming?” to which I replied, “not tonight I am cooking for Leigh Ann.”

Over the last year or so Pete and I had gotten acquainted with each other before and after our workouts at the yoga studio. In December I set a goal to complete 30 sessions of yoga in 30 days. When Pete discovered this, he became my biggest cheerleader. Now you may be wondering, what’s the big deal with 30 days of yoga? Afterall, it just some people sitting in a circle humming and gently stretching their quads and sipping some awful Kombucha, right? Well, the only thing accurate about that statement is that Kombucha is horrible. Everything else is entirely false. Strength and sweat yoga is a challenging workout that is done in a room heated at 98 degrees and often includes “mountain climbers.” It is a REAL workout.

Pete knew I was in for a challenge and every day he would encourage me. I eventually hit my goal and thanks to Margaret who I also met at Yoga; I extended my goal to 60 days which I completed on January 30. Like Pete, she became my cheerleader.

Over the last year, I have lost 22 pounds, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in 20 years. That was what I was planning on when I got serious about yoga. What I wasn’t expecting on were the friendships I would develop along the way. Ken, Pete, Margaret, and Michelle are all professionals who have jobs, families, and responsibilities. But, none of that matters when we are doing yoga. We all show up in our workout clothes and for an hour are all equal. We encourage, inspire and occasionally complain about how sore we are at the end.

I recently reviewed an extensive study conducted by BYU faculty member Julianne Holt-Lunstad that sought to discover what it takes to live to 100 and beyond. Exercise, as you might expect, was on this list. There were, however, many surprises on this list. Getting a flu shot ranked higher than exercise. The real shocker was the top two items on the list. Number two was close relationships with friends, think of your best friends. We all know the importance of this type of friend, but did you know you live longer because of them?

The number one factor in living a long life is to have a social life. Not your typical teenage social life, but do you interact with the people you come into contact with daily? Do you talk to the person that makes your coffee? Do you visit with people in the grocery store line? Are you friendly and respond when people speak to you? When I think about those that I know, who have lived a long life they are indeed social. Oddly, many of them have never exercised. Now, I am not condoning that you quit exercising. In fact, I suggest that you get started right away. Not only will you feel better; look better, and have a better attitude, you might just meet a Pete, Michelle, Margaret, or Ken and live to be 100.

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