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Vivian Levy, age 104, has been swimming since she was 6 years old. Every morning, the New York City-area resident takes a taxi to Life Time Dumbo in Brooklyn, N.Y., which opened in fall 2022, and gets in a 45-minute session in the pool.

“I get up every day and I go swimming,” says Levy in an interview for TODAY.com. “I always feel like it . . . I’ve done exercise all my life. It’s good exercise. And I just enjoy it.”

This lifelong habit has likely benefited the centenarian, as regular exercise offers a number of brain-health benefits, with swimming offering its own advantages for healthy aging and longevity.

For the TODAY show, Levy shared the simple tips she believes help support a long and healthy life:

Life Time member Vivian

Keep moving.

In addition to swimming all her life, Levy also loved walking, bicycling, and hiking when she was younger. She also played tennis and volleyball. 

“(Exercise) makes me happy, and it’s good for my body. You meet people through exercise, too. Where I go swimming, I’ve made friends,” she says. 

Don’t let health setbacks get you down.

Levy has a pacemaker and three stents, and she sees a heart specialist every three months. She’s also been less mobile in recent months because of leg pain.

But swimming continues to be an ideal exercise because it’s easy on the joints, gives her heart a healthy workout, and allows her to keep moving.  

Other than those health issues, she’s never had cancer or other major diseases.

Levy calls herself “a slow swimmer,” but she stays fit thanks to her time in the pool.

Stay social.

The retired teacher says she’s always been active physically, socially, and politically.

“Be interested in things and what’s going on around you and people and in the world,” she advises. “Brooklyn Heights is lovely. I walk out of my house, and I meet people. And there’s a lot going on here.” 

When Levy turned 104 in July, she attended three birthday parties: one at her gym, one at her senior center, and one with her family.

Eat well, but make room for treats.

Levy says she was brought up on healthy foods her mother cooked, including chicken soup and meat and vegetables.

“We had three good meals a day,” she recalls. “We didn’t have bacon or sausages or anything like that.”

These days, she simply enjoys “good food” and makes room for dessert. She likes blintzes, dark chocolate, and coffee-flavored ice cream. She has a small portion of ice cream every night.

The centenarian rarely drinks alcohol but does have an occasional glass of rosé. She loves to drink coffee.

Give your brain a workout.

Levy regularly did crossword puzzles, a habit she picked up during her teaching days. Now, she plays Scrabble, does Wordle, and likes the Spelling Bee word game. She reads books on Kindle.

Enjoy work and family.

The centenarian went to Brooklyn College — she particularly liked chemistry — and was a public-school teacher and guidance counselor for 26 years.

“I liked it very much. I would not have retired except that my husband retired,” she recalls. “(I retired) so that we could spend a lot of time together, and we did. We traveled and we went hiking. And that was good.”

The couple had three children and were married for 50 years before he died in 1997. Levy has also survived the death of her daughter. When asked if she’s an optimist or pessimist, she called herself “somewhere in between.”

You can read the TODAY.com story here: “Woman, 104, Who Swims Laps Every Day Shares Simple Tips for Long Life

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