There a few regions in the world where people can expect to live significantly longer. In these areas, the average life expectancy is 90+ years with many residents living past the age of 100. What makes these areas special?
These regions have been named Blue Zones and are studied extensively because of the longevity of their residents. The 4 Blue Zones:
- Nicoya region Guanacaste, Costa Rica
- Lomo Linda, California
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
All of these regions have a few things in common:
- Emphasis on strong family and community values
- Plant based diets with little to no animal products
- Daily physical exercise and ability to deal with stress
- The elders and even centenarians still work
- A sense of purpose and spirituality
In general these regions have happy, healthy, community-focused people that live simple lives and continue to work through their senior years.
Even though we may live in a fast-paced and modernized part of the world, we can still apply similar measures to increase our longevity…
4 Ways to Increase Longevity:
- Be as Active as Possible: Daily physical activity is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, daily high-intensity exercise can add up to 4 years to your life. Inactivity creates an absence of muscle movement and can cause problems. One study found that those that watched television for less than 2 hours a day (compared to those that watched for 4 or more hours) were 80 per cent less likely to die of heart disease. The problem is not with television itself, but with sitting for prolonged periods of time – so get up and get moving!
- Eat in Moderation: Limiting calorie intake lowers production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows down metabolism and speeds up the aging process. In Japan, it is common for people to stop eating when they feel about 80 per cent full – it is believed that this is the best way to get the necessary nutrients and calories you need without overdoing it. Including enough vegetables and fruits in your diet is also necessary for good health.
- Avoid Unhealthy Habits: Excessive drinking and smoking can take up to 12 years off your life expectancy. It is never too late to change habits and even if you have been smoking for years, a year of not smoking can lower your risk of heart disease by 50 per cent (compared to someone who still smokes). Fostering positive habits is key.
- Reach Out: In the Blue Zones there is importance placed on family ties and community involvement. Having a strong network of friends and family is important for your happiness and also reduces stress. Some studies show that loneliness can cause inflammation and can be as dangerous as having high cholesterol. Surround yourself with the people that make you happy.
It is never too late to start improving your health and forming good habits! What do you do to ensure you live a healthy lifestyle?