The secret to longevity – Blue zones

By | July 15, 2017


blue zone keys to longevityA few years ago, I came across a talk by Dan Buettner titled “How to live to be 100+.” This intrigued me, so I watched the talk. The talk was all I hoped it would be. Since then, I have thought a great deal about what was shared and have re-watched the talk several times. I have even used what I learned as a guide in my own life to what I should be doing to increase my chances of living longer. I’m not necessarily thinking I can live to be 100, but I am hoping I can max out what my body can do and be healthier and happier with the time that I have.


The premise of the talk is that there are a few locations throughout the world where the people statistically live longer than in the rest of the world. The speaker calls these “blue zones.” If these blue zones are studied, we can learn some of the secrets to longevity. I won’t go into all the details of the talk (I highly recommend you find the video on YouTube), but I do want to summarize the main points.y


The Blue Zones

The locations of the blue zones are really not pertinent to reviewing the main points, but they can help in remembering the points because it gives us a picture. Knowing the locations also helps in relating the points to how we might picture the lifestyles of these people. Finally, knowing the blue zones makes things far more interesting, so here they are:

  • Highlands of Sardinia, Italy
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Loma Linda, California, United States
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

 

blue zone locations

The first thing you might observe from the list is that none of these places is big. In fact, they are pretty much the opposite. These places are remote and many of them probably do things the way they were done hundreds of years ago, opposed to what most of us are use to. There are lots of other commonalities too, which is how the researchers startted to identify those factors that aid in longevity.

What blue zone people do that lead to longer lives

These are the main factors that were very common among the blue zone people and believed through research to contribute to the longevity of the blue zone people:

  • Move naturally – People do not exercise but they set up their lives so it requires activity. They walk places (church, market, friends homes). They don’t have a lot of modern conveniences, so they do things by hand. Some live in multi-level houses, which requires them to climb stairs. Others squat when they sit and get up and down many times a day. For fun, they take time to walk and have a garden.
  • Right Outlook
    • Downshift – People take time to pray or reflect. They are not always going full speed.
    • Purpose Now – People have a sense of purpose and feel needed.
  • Eat Wisely
    • Wine – People drink a little wine each day.
    • Plant slant – Their diet is mostly plant based. They are not vegetarians, but they do not eat a lot of meat.
    • 80% rule – People do not overeat. They eat until they are about 80 percent full.
  • Connect
    • Loved ones first – Family and other loved ones are a high priority.
    • Belong – People are part of a faith based community (attend church).
    • Right Tribe – people are born into or proactively surround themselves with the right people. These people reinforce a healthy lifestyle.

 

Since discovering this talk, I have tried to implement what I have learned into my life, to hopefully live healthier, longer, and happier. These points constantly remind me that our modern, fast-paced, multitasking culture is far from ideal, and I need to make the ongoing effort to break free of this culture.

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