At 102 years old, I still help run my business

At 102, Deborah Szekely, still works three days a week at the fitness resort and spa she co-founded in 1940.

CNBC – Deborah Szekely recently hit a huge milestone: she turned 102 years old this month.

Here are three daily practices Szekely swears by and credits for her longevity.

1. Move daily

“I’ve always tried to walk a mile a day, and we count footsteps so we know when it is,” Szekely says.

“I can’t take a nap in the afternoon unless I’ve got my steps in. It’s not anything that is rigid, it just is something you do. Just like waking up in the morning.”

Her advice for making daily movement easier to achieve is “find friends who are active.”

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“I’m Jewish, and I have a [friend who is a] Catholic nun who loves to walk. And so we walk,” Szekely says. “She appears and out [we] go.”

2. Eat a pescatarian diet

Szekely has followed a mostly plant-based diet since she was a child. “I’m a pescatarian. And I actually have been fortunate of never eating meat because of my parents,” she says.

Her eating habits align closely with the Mediterranean diet which prioritizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and more.

Here’s what a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like for Szekely:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt, a banana and whole grains
  • Lunch: “I always have a salad,” at home, she says. But when she has lunch at restaurants, she likes to try different things, she adds.
  • Dinner: “I go out a lot,” she says, so she chooses from fish, salad, a baked potato or tries something new.

3. Socialize and always ‘be learning’

Szekely’s social calendar is pretty stacked.

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“I have season tickets for every play that the [Old Globe Theatre] has in San Diego,” she says. “I go to the theater a lot, and I love opera.”

A few hours after our conversation, Szekely attended her birthday celebration, where she was the guest speaker for several dozens of her friends. She also speaks at her resort every Wednesday and mingles with guests several times a week.

In addition to her social activities, Szekely always looks to learn more, and longevity research shows that people who reach age 80 and beyond learn something new every day …


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