We investigate both the simple and scientific ways we can all continue to buck the trend and live well beyond "expectancy." Read our 12 easy strategies to live to 100 and thrive while doing so.

Living to a ripe old age has many meanings. For someone born 100 years ago, it most likely meant making it past 50. Over the years that have followed, that figure has jumped: someone born in 1940 could expect to live to 62, while someone born in 1961 could look forward to hitting 68. What? 68? It just so happens that quite a few of us who were born in either 1940 or 1961 expect to live much longer than that. So, what gives?

In Canada, the average life expectancy for males born in 2012 is 80 and for females 84, according to the World Health Organization in its World Health Statistics 2014 report.

"The United Nations and other government organizations expect this trend to continue," says Zoomer contributing expert Dr. Zachary Levine. "As people live longer, they also remain vital and productive for many more years than previously."

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According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Americans 85 and over are that country's fastest growing group of older adults. Statistics Canada notes similar findings: in 2006, more than half a million Canadians were aged 85 and older, a 25 per cent increase from 2001. Moreover, 22 per cent more were hitting the 100-year mark than did five years earlier.

Researchers at Harvard found that among a test group of 2,357 men in their early 70s who were followed for 25 years or until death, about 40 per cent survived to age 90. The odds, once you're a nonagenarian, are in your favour, with some scientists estimating a one-in-nine chance you'll make the century mark. The U.S. Census Bureau says that by the time the boomer generation reaches 100, there will be more than four million centenarians in that country. And ladies? According to experts south of the border, at 95, the fairer sex's life expectancy is 21 per cent higher than that of a man's. The same trends have been found right here at home.

That said, observes Levine, we all want to live longer – as long as we can still enjoy our lives and families. "Much of the improvement in life expectancy over the years has been as a result of improvements in nutrition, public health and medicine," he continues. These include decreasing maternal and newborn mortality rates, adding vaccination programs, antibiotics and clean, uncontaminated drinking water.

Today, notes Levine, a number of scientists are investigating ways to delay or stop the processes that lead to cell breakdown and death. "We know that approximately 25 per cent of a person's lifespan is related to genetics, while the rest is determined by the person's behaviour and lifestyle in addition to the environment in which they live. What we individuals can do to optimize our chances of living longer and more enjoyably is to make the lifestyle changes that have been shown to correlate with longer life." His final word? Quit smoking.

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Start off with our 12 easy strategies to live to 100 and thrive while doing so. Here we investigate both the simple and scientific ways we can all continue to buck the trend and live well beyond "expectancy."

Hey, we're Zoomers, after all. Expect the unexpected.

Click through for our top 12 tips for living long and aging well.

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