Jimmy Carter’s Secret: America’s Longest-Living President

Former President Jimmy Carter, now 99 years old, holds the title of America’s longest-living president. Let’s explore his secret to a long life.

Jimmy Carter celebrated his 99th birthday on October 1, a milestone that appeared unlikely when he entered hospice care in February 2023. 

Jason Carter, Jimmy’s grandson, shared that exercise is the key to the former president’s longevity. 

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Jimmy Carter painted and gifted by Ansel Adams in 1979.
Jimmy Carter/Photo by Ansel Adams via Wikimedia Commons

“Whenever he visited a new city, Secret Service or not, he would inquire, ‘Is there a bike available?'” Jason revealed.

Jason explained that his grandfather always made time for jogging,  when age hindered his jogging, he turned to cycling. 

According to his grandson, Jimmy used to “stay active” by playing tennis daily.

He even humorously noted that despite his grandfather being a Nobel Prize winner and the 39th U.S. President, he wasn’t particularly skilled at fishing. 

Jason recounted an instance when they were fishing for grouper, and Jimmy couldn’t catch any fish. He made his grandson switch sides on the boat, hoping to change his luck.

According to Today, Jimmy Carter imparts four longevity lessons:

Sense of purpose

Jimmy and his wife, Rosalynn, were famously involved in the community. Helping to build, renovate, and repair more than 4,300 homes in 14 countries. 

They also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in 1984, a source of joy for the former president.

Florida Governor Reubin Askew and his wife (left) welcome Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter and his wife to the reviewing stand to watch the Springtime Tallahassee Parade. Askew and Carter led the parade in the first two cars.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter/Photo by Dughi, Donn(Donald Gregory) via Wikimedia Commons

Strong family ties

The former president and his wife have been married for 77 years, making them the longest-married couple in presidential history. 

Carter describes it as “a full partnership,” and they maintain close relationships with their children, grandchildren, and other family members.

 Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn reacts after a speech during the commissioning ceremony for Seawolf-class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) in Groton, Conn.
The Carters/Photo by U.S. Navy photo via Wikimedia Commons

Regular exercise

As mentioned by his grandson, Jimmy was an avid runner until the age of 80 when knee problems forced him to switch to other sports

He and Rosalynn enjoyed cycling and traveling across the country and abroad. His biography also mentions his love for fly fishing and woodworking.

Jimmy jogging, taken on November 20, 1978.
The former president jogging in 1978/Photo by White House Staff Photographers Collection via Wikimedia Commons


Since leaving the White House in 1981, Jimmy has regularly attended Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, to teach Sunday school, accompanied by Rosalynn. 

He wrote in one of his books, “Our religious beliefs are important to us.”

The former president smiling. Photo taken on 24 February 2013.
Photo by Commonwealth Club via Wikimedia Commons

Long Happy Life

A long and happy life can be attributed to various factors. 

Genetics, exercise, faith, but most importantly, living a life you enjoy, pursuing your passions, and showing kindness to others, no matter how simple it may be. 

Jimmy Carter has lived for 99 years, embodying these factors that contribute to a long and happy life.

Banner photo by Agatha Romero from Commonwealth Club and White House via Wikimedia Commons.

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