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This 64-Year-Old Was Surprised She Ranked 5 In A Millionaire’s Longevity Contest. Here’s Her Inexpensive Routine For A Long Life

Fortune Well January 22, 2024


This 64-Year-Old Was Surprised She Ranked 5 In A Millionaire’s Longevity Contest. Here’s Her Inexpensive Routine For A Long Life

Amy Hardison has never considered herself a wellness guru. She adheres to a daily routine she loves, where connections with her children and grandchildren come first. But her accessible health routine is working when it comes to aging well. 

Hardison, 64, ranks number five in the Rejuvenation Olympics, a global online longevity game ranking about 4,000 participants’ pace of aging. Hardison is aging at a rate of 0.74 of a year for every chronological year, meaning she is slowing her pace of aging according epigenetic DNA tests.

Unlike the biohackers aiming to live well beyond 100, Hardison isn’t in it for longevity per se. 

“I have 20 years, maybe 25 years or so, and it’s just, what do I want to do to make those the best possible?” Hardison previously told Fortune. “84, 85, 86 is plenty for me.”

When her son-in-law recommended she join a trial for a supplement called NOVOS, she gave it a go after some hesitation. As a member of the trial, she agreed to submit her pace of aging results to the Rejuvenation Olympics. It took her two months to realize she was high up on the leaderboard alongside biohacking elites like Bryan Johnson and Peter Diamandis. “I just kind of giggled,” she says. “It was pretty ironic that I even did it because I’ve never been into taking vitamins and supplements.” 

For Hardison, beyond the clinical trial, her secret to aging slowly isn’t out of the ordinary. As a mother of four and grandmother to 11, her focus on connection serves her, and she credits her view on aging as a key to her longevity.

She sees aging as wisdom 

Hardison approaches challenges with a growth mindset, knowing she has overcome obstacles in the past. “I just cherish the experience of life, and I cherish the perspective that comes from being older,” she says. “We sometimes forget the richness that comes from a life well-lived.” 

Research suggests how people think about aging influences their health outcomes. Negative attitudes about aging can reduce life expectancy by 7.5 years, according to research from Yale University. A hopeful attitude about aging, including staying engaged and curious, has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stronger brain function. 

She eats well and exercises 

Hardison jokingly admits she prefers her cooking to others. It helps her maintain a healthy diet and limit highly processed foods, which are more commonly consumed when dining out. She stays away from alcohol and consumes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, which helps reduce the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and keeps the brain strong as it ages. 

“I never even questioned that I make my own bread,” she says. “I can count on it being healthier.” 

For the last 50 years, Hardison has clocked an hour of aerobic exercise daily, primarily swimming or the elliptical bike. Regular exercise can help with the muscle loss and sleep troubles associated with aging while helping keep adults mentally and physically healthy. Hardison says she also exercises to reduce the risk of cognitive decline associated with developing dementia. 

She takes wellness trends with a grain of salt 

While health and fitness fads dominate the internet, Hardison takes them in stride and sticks with the basics. 

“I have lived through several decades, and I have seen things come and go, so I don’t get too excited about the latest and greatest,” Hardison says, who recommends finding habits you enjoy and learning to love them so they become a choice, not a chore. 

She prioritizes her close relationships 

Time with her children is precious for Hardison, even a brief lunch or check-in. “Nothing [else] has the payoff that it does,” she says. 

The loneliness epidemic, deemed a public health crisis, has also shown the importance of prioritizing connection and community, which can reduce the risk of developing dementia and other chronic conditions that lead to an earlier death. 

“My husband and I looked at each other all the time and say, ‘I hope I’m the one that gets to go first,’” she says.

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