Get In The (Blue) Zone!
Let's talk Blue Zones.
And in case you're not familiar with the term, this is not about sadness. On the contrary − it's about long life (the longest!) and vitality.
Blue Zones refer to those geographical locations where individuals live longer... well into their nineties (and beyond)... and flourish with strong mental acuity and physical well being! These "longevity hotspots" have been identified in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, and Costa Rica. The actual term Blue Zone stems from specific research and demographic studies where blue circles were drawn around longevity zones as a means of identification.
Hundred-year-old hikers, low rates of cancer, diabetes, and obesity... longer, healthier lives. Intriguing isn't it?!
Two years ago, Dan Buettner's book, "The Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who've Lived The Longest" created an important shift in awareness. Suddenly, we were seeing fascinating similarities among these widely scattered societies where people live unusually long and healthy lives. Buettner − National Geographic's famous explorer and writer − spent many years traveling around the world with teams of researchers in order to pinpoint lifestyle commonalities among these people. His hope? That we could learn their secrets − and one day be able to draw a blue circle around all of the United States.
Here is a summary of the 9 Key Blue Zone Factors as identified by Buettner:
1. Movement (a personal favorite!): Incorporate movement into everyday living. Walk more, sit less.
2. Purpose: Have one... then live accordingly.
3. Stress Reduction: Relax; de-stress; unwind.
4. Less Food Intake: Stop eating when you are 80% full. Seriously!
5. Plant Ingestion: Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Most centenarians eat beans, and meat is not so common.
6. Moderate Drinking: A little alcohol is beneficial. Cheers!
7. Faith: Belong to a faithful community.
8. Family Focus. With families, partner, parents as priorities.
9. Choose Your Best Tribe. Surround yourself with good people (who focus on morality, health, creativity).
As Owner of Flow Pilates Centre and a Health and Wellness Coach, the knowledge of lifestyle as a contributor to health and well being really hits home. The nutrition we gain from food choices is salient; but so is the "nutrition" we get from life and life's experiences... It is that balance that allows us to become our best, healthiest, and happiest selves.
So, which of Buettner's factors most resonate with you? Obviously, I am passionate about nutrition and movement, but purpose, family, community, and faith are all deeply important to me. Thinking about Blue Zones and a direct formula that incorporates humane, philosophical, and scientific steps toward better health and longevity is inspirational. We all have personal factors that make us feel good, strong, and fulfilled... something we try to focus on every single day. What are yours?
Let's get in the zone by posting and sharing our personal favorite 'factors' here. What do you love from Buettner's list? What might be missing? How do you stay young? Start spreading the Blue!