Living longer and more healthily
They are called blue zones – places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth. Several of these blue zones exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years is common. And they aren’t just living longer either – these people are living more healthily – without medication or disability and have fewer illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, coronary heart syndromes.
There are five blue zones in the world:
· The Italian island of Sardinia
· Okinawa, Japan
· Loma Linda, California
· Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula
· Ikaria, an isolated Greek island
These were researched by journalist Dan Buettner in a partnership with National Geographic during more than five years of on-site investigation.
And the secret to longevity and health underlying these fascinating communities? Do they possess modern technology, do they take massive amounts of supplements, do they run on treadmills, do they have special genes? As you may have guessed, the answer is none of these.
After more than five years of investigation, Buettner discovered that why people in these places are living so long, is down to their lifestyle. Quite simply, these people live a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise and movement, and a low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, their form of spirituality or religion, and ikigai as the Okinawans say – what gives meaning to your life, the thing that makes you get up every day.
Although it may seem hard to achieve this lifestyle, the absolute simplicity and power of it should actually be refreshing and uplifting. People are always thinking that complicated medicine and expensive modern technological therapies are required to live long and healthy. But it simply isn’t so.
The gift of a long and healthy life is already in the hands of each and every one of us. It is up to each of us to choose the lifestyle of health, and sadly most of us are choosing not to live that lifestyle. You reap what you sew.
Or yoisho – a word without meaning, said when you flop into a chair, after a hard day at work
Or ukiyo – literally, “the floating world” – living in the moment, detached from the bothers of life.
Living to 100+ and healthily
What are Blue Zone Areas?
Blue Zones Lifestyle Principles
Over to YOU!
You don’t have to relocate to one of the five blue zones to live longer of more healthily.
You can do so where you live right now.
All it takes is a decision.
Be aware of how you live right now and how out of balance that may be, how your health may not be all it could be, how the way you live your life could be wiser and healthier. It’s important to acknowledge from where you start your journey.
Inform yourself on Blue Zone living – it isn’t complicated. Perhaps start with the book opposite.
Inform yourself on how you could adopt the blue zone living principles into your own life.
Make a big, bold decision to implement Blue Zone living as far as you can.
It’s where you employ the T factor – time for a changed to owned responsibility. But remember, this is not about saying it is all down to you. Your own life begins with you, but it is also down to how you engage with your local community, family community, and environment. And if your local public parks are not fit for health, then you may need to do some advocacy work with local “politicians.”
Using the 9 Blue Zone principles below, for each rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 means you are engaging well with the principle and 0 means not at all.
The nine principles:
1. Move naturally. Don't do marathons or pump iron; work around the house, garden, walk, cycle, walk when talking on the phone.
2. Know your purpose. Have a reason for waking up in the morning.
3. Kick back. Find ways to shed stress, whether it's praying, napping or going to happy hour.
4. Eat less. Stop eating when you are 80% full.
5. Eat less meat. Beans are a cornerstone of most centenarians' diets.
6. Drink in moderation. Only the Seventh-day Adventists in California didn't have one to two glasses a day.
7. Have faith. Denomination doesn't seem to matter, but attending faith-based services (4 times a month) does.
8. Power of love. Put families first, including committing to a partner and keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby.
9. Stay social. Build a social network that supports healthy behaviors.
For those where you rate yourself low, what’s your plan??
Blue Zone Living