Live Longer

Reporter: Jonathan Creek

Living longer and loving every minute - some active oldies have cracked the longevity code. They've added years to their life and now all of us can do the same.

Each week 90-year-old Wilma Taylor battles it out on the tennis court and although she may be a little slower these days, slowing down altogether is not an option.

According to 'The Long Life Equation', Wilma's onto something -- exercise can add 4 years to a life. "I wouldn't want to give up the tennis, I love the tennis", Wilma said.

Simply being happy will earn you another 9 years; having spiritual or religious faith can give you an extra 7 years; and don't knock marriage -- it's good for you too.

Visit the dentist regularly and you pick up 6 years, while taking Omega 3, or fish oil, can add 5 years.

"The fact is that for hundreds of years, we never reached our genetic potential because we got killed by a whole lot of things", Geriatrician Peter Hunter.

Peter knows our life expectancy is, for the most part, up to us. "If you don't smoke, don't drink, you eat healthy food, you have a positive outlook in life, you exercise regularly -- those are all things in your favour", he said.

If you were ever in any doubt, smoking can shorten your life by 8 years and its a similar story for those in-active couch potatoes among us. Don't get enough sleep? Wipe off 5 years and subtract the same amount if you're depressed. Regular fast food intake will cost you a precious 4 years.

And, as the rule always goes, moderation is the key. A glass of red wine a day could add 3 years to your life, but binge drinking will take 3 years off. And a healthy amount of sunshine will add 2 years, while sunbathing will cost you 1. "I believe there's nothing better than hard physical work. I think it's good for us, I think we ought to get out in the garden and sweat a little bit", Peter said.

At 81, much loved former Gardening Australia host Peter Cundall isn't about to stop planting. He stays young simply by remaining passionate about everything in his life. "Lets make one thing clear, anybody young or old can be extremely rich and extremely successful and I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about good health", he said.

"At the moment if you reach 65 and you're a woman you're probably going to live another 20 years -- a man, you're gong to live another 15 years", Peter said.

As for 90 year old Wilma, it wouldn't be surprising if she lived to be 100 -- if only she wanted to. "No I don't want to. Everybody says to me you'll be 100 and I say no I won't be, I'm not going to do it'", Wilma said.

"Long Life Equation", written by Dr. Trisha Macnair is available in bookstores now.