The centenarians of the Blue Zones achieve longer, healthier lives in part, due to an insular existence. Frankly, in my harried, hectic, stressful life, I ask myself is that even possible given the obvious cultural differences?
1. While we tend to cram a workout onto either end of a day, raising early to hit the road for a run before work, or stopping by the gym on the way home to pump iron, Blue Zone centenarians experience a lifetime of natural movement. While most of us dont have sheep to tend on a sunny hillside in Sardinia, or work year round in our vegetable garden, its important to get off your duff and actively seek movement throughout the day. Take the stairs to your office, go for a lunchtime walk, or gather round the water cooler for some stretching and toe-touching.
2. Blue Zoners do something quite novel..they eat fresh. And I dont mean Subway. Vow to eat as many whole foods as possible, in their natural state. Stick to a plant-based diet. Pack a healthy lunch for the office instead of eating fast food, or walk to a restaurant that serves fresh food.
3. Stay away from the all you can eat concept. Trust me, nothing good can come from bellying up to the Golden Corral buffet. Healthy, long-living centenarians dont gorge. In fact, studies tell us that the centenarians of Okinawa stop eating long BEFORE they even feel full. I suspect that many Americans have lost their ability to know when theyre satiated. Slow down, eat thoughtfully, stop eating long before youre stuffed.
4. Stress is minimal in Blue Zone living. Stress reeks havoc on the body. But in modern society, its difficult to eliminate. Its important to live healthfully in all aspects of your life to help mitigate the effects of stress. Get plenty of movement and exercise, eat well, find what brings you happiness. Purge any negativity that threatens your health.
5. People in Blue Zone societies put their family first. Stay active and involved with your children and take care of elders.
6. Centenarians have a clearly defined purpose. Thats what keeps them going. Search for things that you value and become involved.
7. The majority of Blue Zone centenarians attend faith-based services. It doesnt matter what your beliefs, faith brings a sense of peace and a feeling of belonging.
8. Heres the big advantageBlue Zone centenarians are just born into the very lifestyle that promotes and supports health. Modern society lends itself to convenience and is anything but health supportive. Instead of living an existence that is innately geared toward health, as in a Blue Zone, those of us trying to remain disease-free find ourselves at odds with the natural tendencies of our society.
9. A little good news. They drink wine in the Blue Zones. Well, at least we have that going for us. Enjoy, but dont over imbibe.