1/21/2021 | By Rachel Marsh

This year, on January 17, renowned actress Betty White celebrated her 99th birthday. Merely making it to the near-centenarian milestone is impressive – so what are Betty White’s secrets to longevity?!

Fortunately, this American sweetheart has, over the years, shared her formula for successful aging. And, fear not! Her secret has nothing to do with constant dieting, exercise, and discipline. We’re spilling some of Betty White’s juiciest secrets to health and wellness – you might even be doing them yourself already!

Remain Positive as Often as Possible

“It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look,” Betty White told Parade Magazine in a 2018 interview. Just like her optimistically upbeat Golden Girls character Rose Nylund – who always managed to see the good in everything – White’s true personality doesn’t seem too far off from that of her character portrayal. White says that she always tries to see the upside in everything, and that complaining is simply “such a waste of time.”

And she’s certainly onto something in this case, as studies show that optimism leads to longer life and greater odds of longevity. So, smile! You too could live to see 99!

Exercise (Your Brain)

While Betty White knows the importance of staying physically active (and was once quoted for her quip, “I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so I’m up and down those stairs all the time. That’s my exercise”!), she also keeps her brain moving.

And she’s obviously doing it right! Research shows that doing puzzles and brain exercises – like jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, memory games, and so on – keeps your mind mentally sharp for longer.

White’s preferred method of mind-sharpeners? Crossword puzzles! She says she’s addicted!

Keep Busy

It may come as no surprise that one of Betty White’s secrets to longevity is keeping busy. With dozens of TV shows, movies, and other credentials under her belt (like her various memoirs!), she’s no stranger to an active schedule.

You certainly don’t have to remain busy in the same way Betty White remains busy, of course – but she still recommends keeping active with whatever fills your life. Stay connected to friends, work hard, plug into your passion, and – above all – find your purpose. She encourages everyone to follow their passions, whatever is most fulfilling, and stay engaged with it.

Surround Yourself with Four-Legged Friends

As an avid animal lover, White attributes much of her longevity to time spent with her pets. She’s cared for pets in her home well into her nineties, and is currently the owner of a spoiled Golden Retriever named Pontiac. She’s also a lifelong animal welfare advocate, and is even a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

And further proving her point, the CDC too touts the health benefits of having animals. Studies have shown that pets help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and of course, feelings of loneliness. They also help increase exercise, outdoor time, and opportunities for socialization. 

We’ve also put together some of the best pets for seniors – longevity never looked so adorable!


As I mentioned before, Betty White’s secrets to longevity aren’t exactly about stringent diet, exercise, and deprivation. In fact, quite the opposite – she encourages people to indulge once in awhile!

White is no stranger to the art of treating herself; she’s been attributed various times to touting her favorite cravings as hot dogs, French fries, and vodka. In moderation, of course!

Keep the Laughter Coming

And naturally, this longtime optimist and comedian abides by the very best medicine: laughter! Laughter has been proven to lead to long, healthy lives – and White’s wicked sense of humor is likely responsible for all 99 of her years.

“A sense of humor [keeps me going],” she said recently in an interview with “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

Rachel Marsh

Award-winning writer Rachel Marsh has written for many different sites and publications on a variety of topics. She is the multimedia editor for Seniors Guide and works hard to make sure seniors and their families have the best information possible. When she’s not writing for work, she can be found writing for fun. Really!

Rachel Marsh