There are several places in the world, pockets of people, where large percentages of them live to be 90 or 100 years old. These areas are called “Blue Zones” by researchers. Studies of these areas have provided many tips about extending life and living to 100 and older. When applied, the daily practices of these centenarians reveal tips on how you can live longer.
The oldest people in the world live in Okinawa, Japan. This Blue Zone has been studied for some time and their secrets of long life can easily be employed by modern cultures in America. – but some changes in your lifestyle will need to be made to get the most benefit from them.
One key element in the various Blue Zones is that they live a slower-paced life. It is believed that this enables them to cope better with stress than more modern cultures where everything is always in a rush and people feel that they must always be doing something. Many of them have gardens that they work in regularly.
Working outdoors is common among centenarians, enabling them to get plenty of sunshine and vitamin D. They also enjoy the outdoors and breathing in the fresh air. Being outdoors often and viewing nature relieves stress and helps take the mind off other things. In Okinawa, a less-stressful life means fewer diseases such as cardiovascular disease and some cancers – which are reduced to 20 percent of what other areas of the world experience, and dementia to about 50 percent.
Working outside in a garden also provides a way to get regular exercise. It will help to keep the pounds off, enabling you to lose weight and stay within a healthy weight range. If you cannot work in a garden of your own, you might help a friend or relative that has one – or find an alternate way to get regular exercise. People living in Blue Zones rarely exercise as they do in America, instead, they just walk or work in their garden.
Another important tip from Blue Zone centenarians is that they take some time to meditate or pray at the start of the day – and when needed. Meditation, focusing on things other than what causes stress reduces the amount of cortisol in the body, along with its harmful long-term effects. Taking a nap in the day can have the same effect.
Eating natural foods is a way of life in Blue Zone areas. Loma Linda, California – a Blue Zone – is largely Seventh Day Adventist. Generally, they do not eat much meat and focus on a largely vegetarian diet – fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. These foods give them lots of fiber (more than 20 grams per day) – which helps control weight, supplies them with lots of natural vitamins and nutrients, and they avoid processed foods. Their meals have smaller-sized portions than what most others like to eat. Of course, if you have your own garden, you can eat what you grow in it – and save money at the same time.
Each of the Blue Zone areas tends to have a strong focus on socializing, which helps add to their longevity. They get together frequently with family or neighbors and spend time just chatting, telling stories, sharing news, and more. Socializing is important to them, and it leads to a slower life, coupled with a desire to help others within their circle that may need it. Each of these factors helps them live longer than most other people.