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Introducing Gym Kardashian, the Internet’s Favorite New Meme

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Introducing Gym Kardashian, the Internet’s Favorite New Meme

Meet Gym Kardashian, the KarJenner relative we never knew we needed.

Earlier this week, one Twitter user shared a photo of Kim Kardashian West rocking a set of rock-hard biceps. The image is clearly altered, but that didn’t stop people from falling in love with this new meme.

“Me after opening someone’s water bottle because they couldn’t do it themselves,” @shadesof666 captioned the photoshopped image of Kardashian West with her arms crossed. Within a few days, the post received more than 220,000 likes and nearly 90,000 retweets.

Thanks to one respondent, the meme has a name: Gym Kardashian.

“GYM KARDASHIAN IS THE QUEEN!” @Twizleyterrific shared soon after the original was posted, and it included an additional Gym Kardashian–inspired image.

There was even a poll, in which over 7,000 respondents voted on whether the meme should be called Gym Kardashian, Muscle Kim, or GYM KIM. Gym Kardashian won in a landslide with 71% of the vote. But it didn’t there, as people continued to add some muscle to Kardashian West.

And while the muscles are definitely fake, the name isn’t so far off. Kardashian West occasionally Snapchats her trips to the gym, and she's shared that she goes “every single day for over an hour.” If you want to keep up with her workouts, check out one of her ab-toning routines here.

RELATED: Secrets of People Who Never Miss a Workout

She’s also a big fan of protein, though she probably doesn’t score quite as much love as Gym Kardashian. Late last month, the reality star snapped a stack of pancakes topped with bananas, captioning it “Protein Pancakes.”

The One Thing You Can Do to Feel More Confident About Your Body, According to Plus-Size Model Tabria Majors

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The One Thing You Can Do to Feel More Confident About Your Body, According to Plus-Size Model Tabria Majors

You might remember Tabria Majors from her viral Instagram photos recreating Victoria's Secret ads, which proved that plus-size models can sell (and look amazing in) lingerie, too. And while the body-positive influencer said she doubts she'll be a Victoria's Secret angel anytime soon, she's now one of six #SISwimSearch finalists—vote for her here—hoping to earn a spot in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2019 rookie class.

RELATED: The 15 Best Body Positive Moments of 2017

Majors' bold attitude and commitment to self-love makes her an inspiration for other women hoping to feel more confident in their skin. So when we had the chance to catch up with her in an Instagram Story interview, we jumped at the opportunity. Here, she opens up to Health about her favorite fitness moves, how she handles haters, and why it's so important to make body peace and start loving the way you look.

How does it feel to be included in SI Swim?

“It feels amazing to be in SI this year. I still can't believe that I'm here. It's been a long time coming and I'm so excited that everyone finally gets to see the issue.”

What do you love most about your body?

"What I love most about my body is that I'm really strong. If I had to choose a favorite part, it would probably be my legs. I think they really represent my strength and also my femininity as a woman."

How do you work out your legs?

"As far as working out, burpees are my favorite. They're really hard, but they're a great total body workout."

What are your go-to moves for working your core?

"To work my core, I really enjoy playing racquetball, but if you want to do just a movement, I love the leg-ups where you're holding the bar and you're bringing your legs up because it's incredibly difficult."

Why is it important to you to be sex-positive?

"I embrace my sexuality a lot as a woman. I think everybody should be able to express that freely. We shouldn't hold back, we are humans, we are sexual beings, and that's that."

RELATED: Yes, There Are 11 Different Types of Orgasms. Here's How to Have Each

What would you tell young women who don't know how to communicate what they want when it comes to sex?

"Communication is key in any relationship and it will probably be one of the most difficult discussions you ever have with someone, but just communicate with them freely beforehand: your likes, your dislikes, what you're comfortable with, not comfortable with. It's important that you left them know what you're comfortable with and not comfortable with so you can be on the same page moving forward." 

 

What do you do to practice self care?

"For self care, I really enjoy meditating every morning and every night. I begin my day like that, I end my day like that. I think it just provides a nice space of mental clarity."

How did you get into meditation? 

"For me meditation has been very difficult over the past year, but I just started out doing five seconds every morning and every night, and I just work my way up gradually. I'm at one minute now."

RELATED: How to Add Self Care to Your Workout Routine

How do you deal with criticism?

"I used to feed into the negative comments I received, but I find it's best to just ignore it. These people don't know me, they're just judging me from a photo, and they're projecting their insecurities onto me."

What advice do you have for anyone struggling with body image?

"If you're struggling with your body image, I just encourage you to find one thing that you like about yourself and just focus on that. If there's something you want to change, feel free to change it—change is good! And if you want to remain the same, that's good too."

This Women’s Lingerie Brand Was Created Specifically for Oral Sex

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This Women’s Lingerie Brand Was Created Specifically for Oral Sex

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The intimacy of oral sex is what some women crave, whereas others find it stress-inducing. In fact, according to data compiled by up-and-coming lingerie company Lorals, 80% of women say no to oral sex when they want to say yes. Lorals founder and CEO, Melanie Cristol, was part of that percentage. She wanted to design a product that allowed women to gain confidence when oral sex is presented to them.

So, Cristol designed Lorals (an acronym of sorts for Love Oral Always) lingerie — underwear designed to stay on during oral sex.

"I wanted a product that turned me on, gave me coverage where I wanted it, and didn't hold anything back when it came to pleasure — but research showed me that nothing like that existed," Cristol told recently Bustle. "I decided there needed to be a well-designed product that helped women say yes to oral while helping them feel sexy, beautiful, and confident — whether on a fancy vacation, or in their everyday lives."

Lorals underwear is incredibly thin and stretchy and designed for single use. Wear them while engaging in oral sex — you’re guaranteed to feel absolutely everything going on down there, btw — and then toss them. “Sensation was a top priority,” Cristol said. “We designed these for women’s pleasure above all else. After all, our mission is to close the orgasm gap!”

Cristol notes that her product is in no way an attempt to make women feel shameful about their bodies and their presentation to their partner. Lorals were created to allow women to be comfortable and accepting of oral sex.

After launching Lorals, Cristol told Bustle that she hopes to launch an STD-protection version of the lingerie, expand the variety of sizes, and to introduce new colors to the line.

Lorals will officially be available for purchase come March 2018, so keep an eye out on their website.

People Who Lost a Combined 6,818 Lbs. Struggle with Excess Skin on My 600-Lb. Life: Skin Tight

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People Who Lost a Combined 6,818 Lbs. Struggle with Excess Skin on My 600-Lb. Life: Skin Tight

Losing hundreds of pounds is tough enough, but for many people it comes with the added complication of excess skin. That challenge is the focus of My 600-Lb. Life: Skin Tight, which starts its third season on March 7.

This season features 29 people who have lost a whopping total of 6,818 lbs. But instead of celebrating their accomplishment, many are frustrated with the loose layer of skin covering their bodies.

“My skin makes me look like a circus freak,” says one woman in this exclusive clip from the new season.

“It looks like I’ve melted,” adds a man.

“This extra skin is a punishment worse than death,” says another woman.

“I lost 320 lbs., but I’m still reminded of being the fat girl,” adds a third.

With the help of Dr. Younan Nowzaradan and other plastic surgeons, those 29 people will get skin removal surgery and, hopefully, will finally feel comfortable in their bodies.

“I’m one step closer to being able to live a real life,” says one woman.

My 600-Lb. Life: Skin Tight premieres March 7 at 10/9c on TLC.

The Internet Is Living for This French Figure Skating Pair's Heavy Metal Performance

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The Internet Is Living for This French Figure Skating Pair's Heavy Metal Performance

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Olympic pairs skating just got so hardcore and the internet is here for it.

France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres performed to the metal band Disturbed’s take on Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “Sound of Silence” at the free skating event and it elicited some truly excellent internet reactions.

The pair, who won the bronze medal at the 2017 European Championships, finished sixth place in the team event short program with a score of 75.34. It was enough to advance them to the medal round. But perhaps most importantly, the duo won over the internet with how they epitomized elegance to a surprisingly hard-hitting track.

It’s the go-to song for the pair, who have been skating together since 2010. They also used the song for their free skate last year. “It was our coaches who found it,” James told the Associated Press about the song. “They were like, ‘We really think it could be a hit.’”

This marks the first Olympics where competitors can skate to songs with lyrics. The use of popular music is helping viewers connect even more with what’s already one of the most popular sports of the Winter Games.

See the best reactions to the pair below.

Listen for yourself below.

Don’t expect all pop hits at the rink in Pyeongchang. Fan favorites like France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron plan to perform to “Moonlight Sonato.”Wint

Amy Schumer Shares Sweet Photos from Her Wedding — Including One with Jennifer Lawrence!

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Amy Schumer Shares Sweet Photos from Her Wedding — Including One with Jennifer Lawrence!

Amy Schumer’s sharing her first photos from her surprise wedding to Chris Fischer.

Just hours after the news broke that the pair had tied the knot in a private ceremony in Malibu on Tuesday, the Trainwreck star posted a few photos from their intimate nuptials, showing the pair holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes and walking down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife.

RELATED: Amy Schumer’s Stylist Spills on Her Dress Pick for her ‘Spur of the Moment’ Wedding

Choosing to let the photos speak for themselves, Schumer simply captioned them, “Yup.”

Schumer also shared a sweet snap with one of her closest friends, actress Jennifer Lawrence.

In the photo, the comedian (wearing a Monique Lhuillier dress she picked out just days before) was all smiles as Lawrence, 27, stood by her side and planted a kiss on her forehead.

On Thursday, the actress posted more photos of her famous guests in an Instagram gallery, which included photos of Larry David and Lawrence dancing at the reception.

Schumer also shared a few more behind the scenes moment on her Instagram Stories, including one of comedian John Early — who married the couple while dressed in drag and going by the name “Vicky” — and one with Fischer and some of his closest friends, which included actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

She also gave a shout out to all of the photographs who documented their happy day — including director Judd Apatow.

RELATED: Amy Schumer and Chris Fischer: Inside the Newlyweds’ Low-Key Relationship

The announcement comes just days after the Trainwreck star and chef made their relationship social media official with a kissing photo on Instagram Sunday.

“Happy Birthday @theellenshow thank you for having us!” the 36-year-old actress wrote alongside a romantic black-and-white picture of the pair sharing a smooch, which was presumably taken during taken during Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded birthday bash on Saturday.

RELATED: 5 Things to Know About Amy Schumer’s Chef Husband Chris Fischer

Relationship rumors began swirling around Schumer and the chef and cookbook author after they were photographed together in November of last year, chatting over a dinner in New York City. Schumer’s rep declined to comment on whether their relationship was romantic at the time.

The pair were most recently spotted together in New York in January, as they arrived at NBC Studios to watch Saturday Night Live, which marked only the second time they had been seen in public together.

Fischer lives on Beetlebung Farm in Martha’s Vineyard, where he grew up and wrote the James Beard Award-winning Beetlebung Farm Cookbook. His restaurant Beach Plum was touted by Esquire magazine in 2013 as a favorite of Barack and Michelle Obama.

Schumer previously split from Ben Hanisch in May of last year. The two were together for over a year and met on a dating app around November 2015.

The Case for Scheduling Sex, According to a Relationship Expert

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The Case for Scheduling Sex, According to a Relationship Expert

Putting sex with your partner on the calendar may sound like a buzzkill. But the reality is that not every romp happens on a whim. “There’s a belief in our culture that sex is supposed to be spontaneous, but it almost never is,” says Megan Fleming, PhD, a New York City–based sex and relationship therapist. “If you’re married, have kids, or just lead a busy life, spontaneous sex is more than likely not available to you.”

For that reason, Fleming tells partners they should plan sexy time together, booking a bed session so they have a set time and place to get it on. The only problem with planning to get busy at 2 p.m. on a Saturday? “The truth is, you don’t know how you’ll both feel at that time and we can’t command ourselves to feel aroused,” says Fleming. “What we can do is create conditions that make sex more likely to happen.” 

RELATED: 5 Ways to Make Missionary Your Favorite Sex Position Again

So how can you set yourselves up so you'll be feeling it at the right time? Since feeling rested primes you for arousal, it's a good idea to take a nap before your blocked off sexy time. If that's not possible, just lie down and chill, clearing your head space of stress and focusing on nothing but relaxing,

Another idea is to plan fun or sexy things to do together in the time leading up to your sex appointment. If you love cooking together, whip up a meal while you drink wine. If you love friendly competition, break out a game or activity that makes you feel invigorated, so it's easy to segue into foreplay. “Just try to do activities that make you feel connected but are also light and playful,” says Fleming.

One surprising upshot of arranging intimacy ahead of time is that it can encourage you two to have more non-pre-planned sex. “If you’re regularly scheduling and having sex, chances are you’re going to keep having sex and it might become more impromptu over time,” notes Fleming. Why? “When we haven’t had sex in a while, it takes more energy to get it going again. Keeping it on the calendar helps it stay in flow.”

RELATED: 8 Hot Places to Have Sex at Home (That Aren’t the Bedroom)

If you’re skeptical about feeling turned on by booking a bang, know this: Just because it’s planned doesn’t mean it can’t be hot. “If you’re doing it right, there’s bound to be anticipation,” says Fleming. “You won’t be able to wait for the next time.”

Watch: 17-Year-Old American Vincent Zhou Lands First Quad Lutz in Olympic History

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Watch: 17-Year-Old American Vincent Zhou Lands First Quad Lutz in Olympic History

What an Olympics it’s been for 17-year-old American athletes. 

Snowboarders Chloe Kim and Red Gerard took home gold in their events earlier this week. Now, teen figure skater Vincent Zhou has made Olympic history by landing a quadruple Lutz. 

Zhou is the first skater to ever land the jump at the Olympics. 

No skater has successfully landed a quad Axel in competition, making the Lutz the most difficult quad jump you’ll see at the Olympics

Fellow American Nathan Chen, who is just 18, also has a quad Lutz in his routine and landed two of them during his free skate at Skate America earlier this season.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux Split 'Lovingly' After Two Years of Marriage

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Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux Split 'Lovingly' After Two Years of Marriage

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have split after two and a half years of marriage — and seven years as a couple.

“In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation,” says a statement released by longtime Aniston publicist Stephen Huvane. “This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.

“Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another. ”

The couple announced that they split at the end of the last year, however, they celebrated the New Year together with their annual vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico alongside a handful of close pals including Jason Bateman and his family.

The two spent quite a bit of time apart in recent months raising questions. Theroux was often spotted in New York City away from their L.A. home. They have also had a busy year as Aniston signed on with Reese Witherspoon for a new Apple TV series and filmed Dumplin’ in Atlanta, while Theroux, 46, filmed the comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me in Budapest.

On Saturday, Aniston made an appearance at Ellen DeGeneres‘ birthday party without Theroux. She was spotted standing outside the Hollywood venue chatting with Pharrell.

The next day, the actress rang in her 49th birthday without the actor. Aniston celebrated in Malibu, California with a gathering including pals Courteney Cox, Andrea Bendewald, Leigh Kilton-Smith and Kristin Hahn on Sunday.

Theroux, meanwhile, was spotted out in New York City on Friday walking his dog. (Last year, the duo vacationed together in Los Cabos, Mexico with friends).

Sources recently told PEOPLE that their busy schedules worked for both of them and helped their marriage.

“Justin often spends a few days in NYC by himself,” a source previously told PEOPLE. “When he is in NYC, Jen will catch up with friends and enjoys her own life. When Justin is in L.A., it’s very special for them. They socialize together with friends. They often go out to dinner or have people over.”

Aniston showed off the $21 million L.A. home they designed together in the March issue of Architectural Digest, saying, “I look around at my husband and my dogs and our home, and there’s nowhere else I want to be.”

Aniston and Theroux first met on the Hawaii set of 2008’s Tropic Thunder and began dating in 2011. They later married in a surprise and secret ceremony on August 5, 2015 — just a few days before Theroux’s 44th birthday. A source close to the actress told PEOPLE at the time that the two were happy to have pulled off the surprise wedding, inviting friends to a backyard party under the ruse of celebrating Theroux’s birthday.

“They seemed ecstatic,” the source said. “They celebrated late and barely slept, but they were in the best mood. They were giddy to have pulled off an amazing wedding celebration with their friends. And they were proud to finally be married.”

Aniston was previously married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005 after starting their relationship in 1998. She later dated Vince Vaughn and John Mayer after her divorce from Pitt.

This is Theroux’s first marriage after previously dating hair stylist Heidi Bivens for 14 years before their breakup in 2011, shortly before he started dating Aniston. Theroux and Bivens shared an apartment in New York City before the split.

The Surprising Secrets to Living Longer—And Better

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The Surprising Secrets to Living Longer—And Better

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Old age demands to be taken very seriously–and it usually gets its way. It’s hard to be cavalier about a time of life defined by loss of vigor, increasing frailty, rising disease risk and falling cognitive faculties. Then there’s the unavoidable matter of the end of consciousness and the self–death, in other words–that’s drawing closer and closer. It’s the rare person who can confront the final decline with flippancy or ease. That, as it turns out, might be our first mistake.

Humans are not alone in facing the ultimate reckoning, but we’re the only species–as far as we know–who spends its whole life knowing death is coming. A clam dredged from the ocean off Iceland in 2006–and inadvertently killed by the scientists who discovered it–carried growth lines on its shell indicating it had been around since 1499. That was enough time for 185,055 generations of mayfly–which live as little as a day–to come and go. Neither clam nor fly gave a thought to that mortal math.

Humans fall somewhere between those two extremes. Globally, the average life span is 71.4 years; for a few lucky people, it may exceed 100 years. It has never, to science’s knowledge, exceeded the 122 years, 164 days lived by Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who was born when Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House and died when Bill Clinton lived there.

Most of us would like a little bit of that Calment magic, and we’ve made at least some progress. Life expectancy in the U.S. exceeds the global average, clocking in at just under 79 years. In 1900, it was just over 47 years. The extra decades came courtesy of just the things you’d expect: vaccines, antibiotics, sanitation and improved detection and treatment of a range of diseases. Advances in genetics and in our understanding of dementia are helping to extend our factory warranties still further.

None of that, however, changes the way we contemplate the end of life–often with anxiety and asceticism, practicing a sort of existential bartering. We can narrow our experiences and give up indulgences in exchange for a more guardedly lived life that might run a little longer.

But what if we could take off some of that bubble wrap? What about living longer and actually having some fun? A Yale University study just this month found that in a group of 4,765 people with an average age of 72, those who carried a gene variant linked to dementia–but also had positive attitudes about aging–were 50% less likely to develop the disorder than people who carried the gene but faced aging with more pessimism or fear.

There may be something to be said then for aging less timidly–as a sort of happy contrarian, arguing when you feel like arguing, playing when you feel like playing. Maybe you want to pass up the quiet of the country for the churn of a city. Maybe you want to drink a little, eat a rich meal, have some sex.

“The most important advice we offer people about longevity is, ‘Throw away your lists,'” says Howard Friedman, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and co-author of The Longevity Project. “We live in a self-help society full of lists: ‘lose weight, hit the gym.’ So why aren’t we all healthy? People who live a long time can work hard and play hard.” Under the right circumstances, it increasingly seems, so could all of us.

Marie Ashdown, 90, has lived in New York City for nearly 60 years, in an apartment on the east side of Manhattan. New York has beaten down younger people than her, but Ashdown, executive director of the Musicians Emergency Fund, loves city life. “I have a fire in my belly,” she says. “There’s not one minute of the day that I don’t learn.”

As a classical-music connoisseur, Ashdown organizes two concerts a year at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. When she’s not working, she takes weekend trips outside of the city, and spends her free time binding old books. Like many New Yorkers several decades her junior, she often orders takeout rather than bother with cooking. “We have the best and worst here,” says Ashdown. “We learn to cope, live on the defensive and conquer fear.”

She’s hardly the only senior who loves city living. In the U.S., 80% of people ages 65 and older are now living in metropolitan areas, and according to the World Health Organization, by 2030, an estimated 60% of all people will live in cities–many of them over age 60. You may lose a little sidewalk speed and have to work harder to get up and down subway stairs, but cities increasingly rank high on both doctors’ and seniors’ lists of the best places to age gracefully.

Every year, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging (CFA) ranks the best metropolitan places for successful aging, and most years, major cities sweep the top 10 spots. No wonder: cities tend to have strong health systems, opportunities for continued learning, widespread public transportation and an abundance of arts and culture. That’s not to say that people can’t feel isolated or lonely in cities, but you can get lonely in a country cottage too. In cities, the cure can be just outside your door.

“We all long to bump into each other,” says Paul Irving, the chairman of the Milken Institute CFA. “The ranges of places where this can happen in cities tend to create more options and opportunities.”

It’s that aspect–the other-people aspect–that may be the particularly challenging for some, especially as we age and families disperse. But there are answers: a 2017 study in the journal Personal Relationships found that it can be friends, not family, who matter most. The study looked at 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries and found that while both family and friends are associated with happiness and better health, as people aged, the health link remained only for people with strong friendships.

“[While] in a lot of ways, relationships with friends had a similar effect as those with family,” says William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and the author of the study, “in others, they surpassed them.”

If the primacy of family has been oversold as a key to long life, so has the importance of avoiding conflict or emotional upset. Shouting back at cable news is no way to spend your golden years, but passion, it’s turning out, may be more life-sustaining than apathy, engagement more than indifference.

In a study published by the American Aging Association, researchers analyzed data from the Georgia Centenarian Study, a survey of 285 people who were at least (or nearly) 100 years old, as well as 273 family members and other proxies who provided information about them. The investigators were looking at how the subjects scored on various personality traits, including conscientiousness, extraversion, hostility and neuroticism.

As a group, the centenarians tested lower on neuroticism and higher on competence and extraversion. Their proxies ranked them a bit higher on neuroticism, as well as on hostility. It’s impossible to draw a straight line between those strong personality traits and long life, but the authors saw a potential one, citing other studies showing that centenarians rank high on “moral righteousness,” which leads to robust temperaments that “may help centenarians adapt well to later life.”

At the same time that crankiness, judiciously deployed, can be adaptive, its polar opposite–cheerfulness and optimism–may be less so. Worried people are likelier to be vigilant people, alert to a troubling physical symptom or a loss of some faculty that overly optimistic people might dismiss. Friedman and his collaborator Leslie R. Martin, a professor of psychology at La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif., base their book on work begun in 1921 by Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman, who recruited 1,500 boys and girls born around 1910 and proposed to follow them throughout their lifetimes and, when he died–which happened in 1956–to have successors continue the work. Friedman and Martin have been two of those successors, and they’ve learned a lot.

“Our research found that the more cheerful, outgoing children did not, for the most part, live any longer than their more introverted or serious classmates,” says Friedman. “Excessively happy people may ignore real threats and fail to take precautions or follow medical advice. It is O.K. to fret–if in a responsible manner.”

One tip for long life that is not coming in for quite so much revisionist thinking is exercise–and some seniors are achieving remarkable things. Take Ginette Bedard, 84, of Howard Beach, N.Y.

It was a drizzly morning last Nov. 5, but that didn’t stop Bedard from crossing the New York City Marathon finish line first in her age group. Bedard picked up running decades ago as a way to keep fit, but she didn’t run her first marathon until she was 69 years old. “I was watching the marathon runners on TV and I was so envious,” she says. “I was thinking, I cannot do that, they are all superhumans.”

So she decided to become one of them. She began training daily until she could run the full 26.2 miles, and she’s run nearly every New York City Marathon since. “It takes discipline and brainpower and dedication,” she says. “The running is hard, but the finish line is euphoria.” She now runs three hours every day along the beach.

Few physicians would recommend that all octogenarians pick up a three-hour-a-day running habit, but adding even a small amount of movement to daily life has been repeatedly shown to be beneficial, for a whole range of reasons. “Exercise likely works through several mechanisms,” says Dr. Thomas Gill, director of the Yale Program on Aging. “Increasing physical activity will improve endurance; it benefits muscle strength and balance and [reduces] occurrence of serious fall injuries. It also provides a benefit to psychology, by lifting spirits.”

Exactly how much–or how little–exercise it takes to begin paying dividends has been one of the happy surprises of longevity research. A 2016 study found that elderly people who exercised for just 15 minutes a day, at an intensity level of a brisk walk, had a 22% lower risk of early death compared to people who did no exercise. A 2017 study found that exercising even just two days a week can lower risk for premature death. Researchers from McMaster University in Canada even found that breaking a sweat for just 60 seconds may be enough to improve health and fitness (as long as it’s a tough workout).

Healthy eating is something else that may have a lot more wiggle room than we’ve assumed, and if there’s such a thing as a longevity diet, there may be more on the menu than seniors have been told. “I have my wine and ice cream,” says Bedard without apology. Similarly, 90-year-old Ashdown phones her takeout orders into Tal Bagels on First Avenue, not some trendy vegan joint.

“It really is an issue of moderation,” says Peter Martin, a professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, who runs an ongoing study of centenarians. Martin notes that while most centenarians eat different but generally healthy diets, one consistent thing he has picked up from work with his 100-plus crowd is breakfast. “They rarely skip breakfast,” he says. “It’s often at a very specific time, and the routine is important.”

Alcohol has its place too. An August 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that light to moderate alcohol use (14 or fewer drinks per week for men and seven or fewer for women) is associated with a lower risk of death compared to people who don’t drink at all. If you’re a nondrinker, that’s no reason to start, and if you drink only infrequently, it’s no reason to drink more. Still, among the more than 333,000 people in the study, light and moderate drinkers were 20% less likely to die from any cause during the study period compared with their completely abstemious peers.

There’s also an argument for letting go of diet obsessiveness, especially if you’re at a reasonably healthy weight already. A 2016 study found that women over age 50 who were categorized as normal weight, but reported fluctuating (dropping more than 10 lb. and gaining it back at least three times) were 3½ times more likely to experience sudden cardiac death than those whose weight stayed the same. The takeaway: simply stay in a healthy range; striving for a smaller size isn’t necessarily doing you any longevity favors.

Finally, as long as seniors are enjoying themselves with some indulgent food and drink, they may as well round out the good-times trifecta with a little sex. It’s no secret that remaining sexually active has been linked to life satisfaction and, in some cases, longer life. One celebrated study, published in the British Medical Journal in 1997, followed 918 men in a Welsh town for 10 years and found that those with a higher frequency of orgasm had a 50% reduced risk of mortality. Friedman and his colleagues, working with the Terman group, found something similar–though not quite as dramatic–for women. A 2016 study from Michigan State University was less sanguine, finding that older men who had sex once a week or more were almost twice as likely to suffer a cardiovascular event than men who had less sex; that was especially so if the more active men were satisfied with the sex, which often means they achieved orgasm. For older women, sex seemed to be protective against cardiovascular event.

The problem for the men was likely overexertion, but there are ways around that. “Older adults have to realize that it’s intimacy that’s important,” says Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “If the focus is on pleasure rather than achieving orgasm each time, it can be fulfilling.”

In this and other dimensions of aging, Kennedy cites pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who died at age 86 and was still performing into his 80s. Conceding the limitations of age, he left the most demanding pieces out of his performances; of those that remained, he would play the slower ones first, making the faster ones seem faster still by comparison. “He would optimize, not maximize,” says Kennedy.

There is an admitted bumper-sticker quality to dictum like that, but compared with the familiar age-related wisdom–take it slow, watch your diet, stay cheerful–it’s bracing. There are, Kennedy says, no truly healthy centenarians; you can’t put 100 points on the board without getting worn out and banged up along the way. But there are independent centenarians and happy centenarians and centenarians who have had a rollicking good ride. The same is true for people who will never reach the 100-year mark but make the very most of the time they do get. The end of life is a nonnegotiable thing. The quality and exact length of that life, however, is something we very much have the power to shape.

–With reporting by AMANDA MACMILLAN