Good health and longevity
Away from the fad diets, vitamin pills, and chaos of self-discovery, there exist places where the people are happier, healthier, and live well passed 100. Luckily, the secrets aren’t guarded by placid monks who subsist on melted mountain snow and energy from the sun – in fact, they aren’t secrets at all. In these areas, good health and longevity are a natural consequence to their approach to life, through diet, exercise, and mental wellbeing.
Where do they live?
Blue Zones – places on the earth where people live the longest, healthiest lives. The name comes from Dan Buettner, the journalist who set out to find what the link was between the peoples populating these areas.
What makes them so healthy?
What they eat in the Blue Zones is just as important as how they eat – their diets are high in plant-based foods and low in meat, fish and dairy, and they consume moderate amounts of both food and alcohol.
It’s a philosophy called Hara hachi bu, meaning to eat until you’re about 8/10’s full.
How you can emulate them – eat more fruit and veggies, consume foods that will improve your mood, and find the foods with the right nutrients.
In Blue Zones, the idea of a sedentary lifestyle is completely alien – every day involves challenging physical labour. This has a host of corollary effects like:
- reduces risk of weight-related conditions
- delays loss of muscle and bone density that comes with ageing
- helps heart and lung health
- boosts mental health
- increases exposure to the sun (and essential vitamin D)
How you can emulate them – find an exercise that keeps you motivated, join a gym, or keep it simple and start walking more every day!
Their mental health
Maintaining good relations between your friends and family (outside of Facebook) pays off! Peoples in the Blue Zones are highly social, with strong focuses on healthy communal activities that might be traditional or religious in nature.
Their social health is supported by individual care, where reduction of stress and purpose are prioritised. In the Blue Zones, people undertake meditative activities like praying, napping or performing tea ceremonies. They also have a reason – an ikigai – that gets them up and out of bed every morning.
How to emulate them – work on your relationships with your family, find purpose with optimism, and manage your sleep and work anxiety.
The Conversation – Experts say these two things are the secret to living a longer life
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