The term Blue Zone has been popping up more and more in recent years. Blue Zones have been gaining more attention as we have a thirst for knowing how to live longer and happier. So what are they exactly and how can they teach us to live a more well-rounded life? Blue Zones came from a National Geographic cover store in 2005 called, "The Secrets of a Long Life". The article named five areas that have evidence of the communities living healthier and longer lives.
So where are these happy and healthy people? The five communities are….
· Okinawa, Japan
· Sardinia, Italy
· Nicoya, Costa Rica
· Icaria, Greece
· Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California
What do these communities do to earn the title of a Blue Zone? The researchers, Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, found four commonalities among these areas. These are four things that they do to achieve life fulfillment. Let’s look at these four characteristics and how we can incorporate them into our lives.
The first pillar is that the people move regularly. This movement goes beyond exercising. They found daily bursts of movement throughout the day to keep the body moving. The takeaway is that your daily focused exercise routine is important but if you are sedentary the rest of the day it will only get you so far. Make sure you are taking movement breaks every hour to keep muscles loose and your body limber!
The second commonality is these joyful folks live with purpose. They have a reason to get up each day and live life with perspective. What gets you out of bed every morning? Are you living your passion? Are you sweating the small stuff? I find it helpful to write out an affirmation and gratitude daily. It keeps me grounded as well as keeps my mind focused on my purpose.
The third shared characteristic is they have a support system of friends and family that help them move through life more easily as challenges and successes arise. We are meant to be in connection with each other. Having a support system and daily connection is important. There are all kinds of ways to connect with others, even during COVID. Set up a Zoom meeting, go for a walk with a friend outside, join a book club, the possibilities are endless!
Finally, they live by the idea that the healthy choice is the easy choice rather than it simply being an option. This one is a big one! Often I hear people say that making healthy choices is hard. The folks in these Blue Zones approach this idea with the mindset that the healthy choice is the easy choice because it makes you feel so good. Why would you want to do anything other than the healthy choice?
The publication of this article lead to an explosion of curiosity. It resulted in Dan Buettner writing the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. He researched these populations and found nine shared commonalities of these communities. These all contribute to their longevity.
Look at this list and see how many you are practicing in your life!
1. Moderate, regular physical activity.
2. Connecting to your life purpose.
3. Manage stress reduction.
4. Moderate caloric intake.
5. A diet based mainly of plants.
6. Moderate alcohol intake.
7. Engagement in spirituality or religion.
8. Engagement in family life.
9. Engagement in social life.
These nine shared characteristics are researched and documented to lead to a longer life. I encourage you to see in which you excel and where you may want to make improvements. It’s all about progress, not perfection. Do the best you can with where you are.
If you want support to work towards that progress I am here to help! Book a FREE consultation with me and let’s develop a map to put you on the path of longevity!