Hawaii woman turns 100 years young. So what’s her secret?

The year 1917 was an eventful one.

America entered World War I. The Girl Scouts started selling cookies.

Kay Kameyo Yamauchi was born.

When we first introduced you to the Windward Oahu resident, she was a spry 99 years old.

Now, she’s celebrating an incredible milestone: her 100th birthday!

Friends and family gathered at Castle Medical Center’s Wellness and Lifestyle Center to wish Yamauchi a happy birthday.

“She is so vibrant. I think that’s one of the adjectives I would use to describe her,” said Nicole Kerr, director of wellness and lifestyle medicine. “She comes in everyday on her walker by herself. She’s just an inspiration for independent living.”

Yamauchi has been a regular at the center for more than five years. When pressed for her secret to long life, her reply came as no surprise: “Exercise.”

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 72,197 Americans 100 years or older in 2014. That was up an amazing 44 percent from the year 2000, when there were only 50,281 centenarians. In 1980, they numbered about 15,000.

Regular exercise can play a major role in our physical and mental health by reducing stress, anxiety and depression and building relationships.

“There have been studies that have shown when people are isolated and lonely and depression goes up – anxiety goes up and this is a way to really help with that,” Kerr said.

Yamauchi knows this first-hand. She attends fitness classes three times a week.

“I’m happy because the class is very good exercise,” she said. “I enjoy the class. The teacher is very good.”

Yamauchi is living proof that you can be active and independent, no matter your age.

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