It might surprise you just how long!
What are blue zones?
Blue zones are countries and regions of the world that have the highest concentration of centenarians (people aged over 100). Not only that, the people are also the healthiest in the world.
These areas have been identified as,
- Okinawa - Japan.
- Sardinia - Italy.
- Nicoya - Costa Rica.
- Ikaria - Greece.
- Loma Linda - California.
So why are these individuals in these areas or Blue Zones so healthy and living so long? We know that the average life expectancy for the average Brit is around 78 years. So what are these populations doing to gain an extra 20?
Well, the founders of the Blue Zones and National Geographic teamed up and identified 9 key areas or reasons for this extreme longevity. What might surprise you is that The Danish Twin Study established that only 20% of how long a person lives is determined by our genes! The other 80% is determined by our Lifestyle and our Environment!
So take note of these 9 key lifestyle similarities,
1. MOVE NATURALLY.
The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
This translates to why we wake up in the morning. Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to 7 years of extra life expectancy.
3. DOWN SHIFT.
Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. 80% RULE.
“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. PLANT POWER.
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.
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.
All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. LOVED ONES FIRST.
Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping ageing parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
9. RIGHT TRIBE.
The world’s longest-lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviours, Okinawans 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 behaviours.
With our ever hectic lifestyles and expanding job roles we understand it might be difficult to adopt the 9 areas above wholly. Research is telling us that most of us have the capacity to make it well into our early 90’s and largely without chronic disease. As the evidence demonstrates, the average person’s life expectancy could increase by 10-12 years by adopting a Blue Zone lifestyle.
With the information staring at us right in the faces are we crazy not to start making changes?
What will you change?
When will you make those changes?
Here at GymPro we want you to start today.
For more information please check out www.bluezones.com