Have you ever wondered why particular people in different parts of the world are living so much longer than the rest of us? These are called “Blue Zones”. The people living in blue zones are reaching 100 years old at incredible rates or have the highest life expectancy, or the lowest rate of middle age mortality. Even though these people are all reaching old age they are all still healthy and very few suffer from dementia among other ailments linked with old age.
Why should I care about Blue Zones?
“Manhattan Beach was a city that decided to adopt our blue zone project they are one of the 26 cities that have done this. Over the past 5 years they have seen a 50% drop in childhood obesity and the average BMI has dropped by 17%.”
On average people in the US live to about 75 to 80, they have discovered that living the life style found in these blue zones can add an extra 11 to 12 years to your life.
For the past 10 years Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author has been working with national geographic to identify people throughout the world who live longer. At the end of his study he discovered a lifestyle in location throughout the world called Blue zones that can be recreated to help you and others live longer and happier lives.
What are Blue Zones?
Blue Zones are geographic areas throughout the world where people live longer than average. Buettner discovered 5 main blue zones, Loma Linda, CA, USA, Nicoya Costa Rica, Sardinia Italy, Okinawa Japan and Ikaria Greece. In each one of these cities/villages Buettner discovered people who were living past 100 years old. At the end of his 10 year investigation he discovered 4 main common denominators that the people in the blue zones did that gave them a extra 10 to 12 years of healthy life.
- Move Naturally: These people don’t exercise instead they set up their lives so they constantly have to be involved in physical activity. These 100 people live in vertical houses where they have to get up and down the stairs, every trip to the store or a friend’s house they have to walk, there is no conveniences. When they do intentional activity or exercise they tend to do things they love or enjoy.
- Right Out Look: They take the time to “downshift” or in other words they do things in there lives that help alleviate stress. They have a healthy outlook on their life and know when to slow down and take time to pray and meditate. They give themselves a purpose in life even after they retire.
- Eat Wisely: Buettner discovered the people living in the blue zones tend to eat a plant based diet, they eat lots of beans and nuts and they have strategies to keep from overeating.
- Connect: They found that these people put their families first by taking care of their children and older parents. They all belong to a faith based community. The most vital things about this connectedness is that they all belonged to a tribe. In other words they were born into or proactively surrounded himself with the right people who where actively participating in this lifestyle.
The blue zone doesn’t have to be in these remote places throughout the world. You can bring the blue zone to wherever you live. It all starts with the way you eat. Try eating more beans for protein instead of steak. Or eat a salad for lunch instead of going to a fast food joint. Next, look at the people you surround yourself with. Create a strong network of friends that eat the way you do and support you in all aspects of your life. You don’t have to go to the gym everyday, but try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or bike to work instead of driving. Lastly, be stress free. Take time to slow down and relax.