Would you like to live over 100 years free of disease & dysfunction?
“ Don’t focus on age,” she says with a touch of impatience. “It doesn’t exist.”― Deepak Chopra, The Healing Self: Supercharge your immune system and stay well for life
Imagine remaining active into your 80’s, 90’s and perhaps beyond 100 years, free of chronic preventable disease, disability, and restriction. Imagine living in a community of people where you are not the only person that has chosen to live this way.
In Bluezone’s this futuristic idea is already present today. Blue Zones were first described by Dan Buettner in the national geographic issue “The secrets of a long life.” Dan Buettner spent over a decade studying the areas in the world where people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else on the planet. These “Blue Zone” regions are incredible because the people there live not only longer, but better. Besides having a large percentage of people that live to one hundred, the aging population also remains active well into their eighties and nineties, and typically do not suffer the degenerative diseases common in most of the industrialised world.
In Dan Buettners book called The Blue Zones, Buettner described five known Blue Zones:
- Icaria (Greece): Icaria is an island in Greece where people eat a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, red wine and homegrown vegetables.
- Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy): The Ogliastra region of Sardinia is home to some of the oldest men in the world. They live in mountainous regions where they typically work on farms and drink lots of red wine.
- Okinawa (Japan): Okinawa is home to the world’s oldest women, who eat a lot of soy-based foods and practice tai chi, a meditative form of exercise.
- Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica): The Nicoyan diet is based around beans and corn tortillas. The people of this area regularly perform physical jobs into old age and have a sense of life purpose known as “plan de vida.”
- The Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California (USA): The Seventh-day Adventists are a very religious group of people. They’re strict vegetarians and live in tight-knit communities.
Why do people age with more ease in these areas? And how come they live so long?
It’s not because of medical health care or technology. It is because of simple and yet profound life-style choices they make every day again.
Hereby we share them with you:
1. Move Naturally
Moving naturally throughout the day — walking, gardening, doing housework, surfing — is a core part of a healthy lifestyle. No one likes to sit down all day behind a computer. We all know that. But most of us don’t move, because we try to force ourselves to move unnaturally – like going to the gym even though we don’t actually enjoy it.
Movement is like the lotion for your joints, and helps your body to regenerate much faster.
So WHAT do you love to do, that keeps you active in your lifestyle?
As an example, for me I love the water, and being in tune with the elements and other people. So much of my life is based around connection – whether I connect with the water through swimming in wild rivers and free-diving in oceans, or connecting with people through contact improv and ecstatic dance in the forests and the moors where I live. I practice asanas as means to give me the breath, the strength and the flexibility I need for these practices.
2. Work With Purpose
Never underestimate the power of doing something meaningful. If you do that, it won’t even feel like work but will fire you up instead. You naturally reduce your stress levels because your body produces more happy hormones if you are fulfilled by doing something you love. Whether this is your paid job, or a project you work on in your community – work for something that it’s worth getting up for. Knowing why you wake up in the morning makes you healthier, happier, and adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy. Why do you get out of bed each morning?
3. Practice Daily Stress Relieving Rituals
To live a long life, you need to build stress-relieving rituals into your daily routine. The secret is that slowing down makes you speed up – whether that is during a daily routine or overall in your life. What are stress-relieving rituals? You decide what works for you! For some people it might me prayer or meditation, for others it might be a nap, and for others it might be a ‘happy hour’ where you socialize with friends. How do you slow down, so that you can speed up?
4. Eat Less
“Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Eat A Simple And Clean Mostly Plant Based Regime
Their diet is also mainly plant based. Beans are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains round out the rest of the diet and meat is eaten in small amounts. The key is to keep it simple – no processed food, more nature. A diet with high nutrition density and low calories is the best way to treat your body if you want to live longer.
Instead of restricting oneself completely of alcohol as an alternative to overconsumption, you may feel aligned with the Sardinian way. People there have a moderate but regular consumption of wine (with friends and/or food) is part of their Blue Zones lifestyle.
6. Drink Wine at 5
People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
7. Belong To Something Bigger
Spirituality and belonging are key elements of the life in a Blue Zone. For example, being part of a faith-based community adds four to 14 years to life expectancy. Sharing a similar idea of spirituality and celebration, experiencing grace together, witnessing each others spiritual awakenings and help each other move through rites of passages, are key elements of a healthy life-experience. What community do you tune into each week in order to live in a higher vibration?
8. Love First
Being of service to loved ones including the family, spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren, gives us a certain kind of bonding that makes us live longer. Equally, it is important to know that there is always someone there who has got your back and who cares when you can’t care for a day. In this way you are both giving and receiving to and from the community. Keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.. Commitment to a life partner can add up to 3 years of life expectancy. Investing time and love into their children will make it more likely for them to care for you when the time comes.
9. Live With Your Tribe
The world’s longest lived people have close friends and strong social networks. What they share within the tribe is an equal set of values they live by, things that they feel passionate about and that inspire them. Okinawan’s created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favourably shaped their health behaviors.
What is equally important is the level of care they show for each other. Who are 5 people in your “family” or proximity that you have a close connection with? Who is your tribe?
Living a long life is not complicated. It doesn’t take advanced technology, magical elixirs, or a strict life-style regime. What it takes however, is having the ambition to create a quality life that goes beyond daily survival. Live with the intention to live a life that is worth growing old for.
Call to embodiment
Who do you need to become in order to put a quality life above everything else that you do?
Take the time to reflect on what intentions you have to create a Blue Zone life-style and write these intentions down and share them with people who are interested in creating this world together..
Pick 1 of the 9 Selfcare rituals and action into your life after reading this.
Evidence Based Research (Systematic reviews etc)
Notable Experts cited
- Deepak Chopra, The Healing Self: Supercharge your immune system and stay well for life
- The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
- Tedx – How to Live to 100+
Meet people who share your mission – find a platform, a community in your local area or online, or join our tribe & the SelfcareDailyRitualsGroup, because it will make every change you make so much easier if you have wind in your sails.