Do you want to live a longer, healthier life?
Then you’ll want to learn from the world’s “Blue Zones.”
The idea of blue zones was popularized by author Dan Buettner in his book, “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”
He discovered five places in the world where people have greater longevity and happy, healthy lives past 100: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California (home to a large community of Seventh-Day Adventists).
Buettner identified nine lifestyle habits of people in the blue zones. Here’s some of what he found, and how we can adapt them to our routines.
- Move every day. Maybe you can’t walk to work, but you can walk somewhere. And you can join us for workouts to strengthen the functional fitness needed for everyday living as we age.
- Purpose. The Nicoyans call it “plan de vida” or why we wake up in the morning. Know your purpose: It adds seven years to life expectancy.
- Downshift. Blue zoners have daily routines to shed stress. Ikarians nap, for instance. What do you do to deliberately relax?
- 80 percent. A Confucian mantra reminds us to eat till we’re 80 percent full. The 20 percent gap can help us lose weight. Think about this before you reach for seconds.
It’s fascinating research, and more communities are using the findings to improve health of their own citizens. You can learn more here.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.