According to author Dan Buettner, there are certain parts of the world where people tend to live longer and healthier lives. In these areas, the residents are more likely to live past 100 years old than their counterparts in other regions of the world. The residents in these Blue Zones, a name coined by Buettner, also seem to be able to get to their golden years without developing chronic disease like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes. They also seem to be more youthful and vibrant much longer than people in the US of comparable age.
What are the ‘Blue Zones’?
In Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, the author identifies the five areas of the world where people seem to live the longest and strongest. These folks may have hit the genetic jackpot but they are also living a lifestyle that supports a long life. This includes nutrition, movement, and stress management. The regions where this phenomenon seems to be most prevalent are:
- Ikaria Greece
- Sardinia Italy
- Okinawa Japan
- Nicola Peninsula in Costa Rica
- Loma Linda, California USA
What makes a ‘Blue Zone’?
So what is it about these areas that make them so special?
Is there a specific genetic profile the inhabitants all fit? No.
Do they spend and inordinate amount of time on exercise? No.
Is there something special about the environment? No.
Actually, it’s the lifestyle. In these regions, the people have:
- a strong sense of community
- tight knit families
- low levels of stress
- a sense of purpose
- strong religious or spiritual beliefs
They also have healthy eating habits and exercise daily. Can it really be this simple? Yes
How do they eat?
They consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds. They keep it relatively low in fat and eat little meat or processed sugar. And they do it without a heavy reliance on fancy medical technology or pharmaceuticals.
What do they do?
The exercise they do on a daily basis doesn’t need any equipment. Their day to day activities are full of exercise. Daily activity includes climbing mountains and working the land, which is what our bodies were intended to do. They don’t have to do bursts of high intensity exercise. They are just always moving throughout their day, allowing their blood to circulate and their muscles to work as nature intended. In other words, you need to use it or lose it when it comes to your muscles and other body parts.
How do they manage stress?
People in these regions of the world are generally living happier lives. When you have connection, feel as though you have a purpose, maintain a deep spiritual belief and get enough restorative sleep, you will naturally take care of your body the way you should.
What if I don’t live in a ‘Blue Zone’?
You don’t have to live in one of these special places to behave as though you do. It’s simple really.
- Use your body the way nature intended by moving throughout your day all the time
- Eat whole, clean, mostly plant based food
- Manage stress through close family ties, a strong sense of purpose and deep spirituality
If you are able to correct behaviors and return to the simple life as the ‘Blue Zone’ people live, you can reverse a lot of the negative impact of our Standard American Diet (SAD) and lifestyle. I think it’s worth a shot.
Since June 2019, I decided to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I regained some of that weight in the last couple of years and I’m working my way back down. I’ve lost over 40 pounds since I began in June and have exercised nearly every day since August.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes to live your best life.
Do You Want Help?
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Aren’t you tired of feeling bloated and lethargic?
If you continue to follow the path you’re on, where will it lead you in six months? a year? Isn’t it time to take a different approach?
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As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life.
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