If you wish to learn some dance moves, you go to a renowned choreographer. If you wish to learn some home-cooking, you go to your mom. If you wish to learn how to direct, you assist a director. If you wish to become a yogi, you find yourself a yoga instructor. So where do you go if you wish to learn how to live long? You go to those who live the longest a.k.a. the people who live in the “Blue Zones” the world.
The average life expectancy in India is around 68 years and that in the Blue zones is 78. And you could easily add these ten years to your life too.
How? By inculcating habits that help them live longer. You just need to adopt bits of their lifestyle.
Why? Because according to research only 30% of longevity is decided by your genes, rest 70% is all dependent on your lifestyle. So, if they can, so can you.
And surprisingly, even though these zones are miles apart, demographically different, culturally different. And yet, there are certain common key habits that make them live longer.
Curious? Let’s know a bit more about these blue zones first.
What are Blue Zones?
Blue zones is a term coined by the renowned author, Dan Buettner. Blue zones are the areas across the world where this guy believes people live longer than average.
A larger chunk of people living here reach the age of 100 as compared to the rest of the world. Not just that, people, even in their 80s and 90s are much more active here with respect to those in the rest of the world.
Simply put, they are the longevity hotspots of the world. So far, there are five identified blue zones in the world.
91 out of 17867 people born in this region in between 1880 to 1900 lived till the age of 100, twice the average rate of the rest of Italy.
Okinawas find themselves in the list of the world’s longest lived people with the life expectancy of 78 for men and 86 for women.
Loma Linda, California
People living in this zone are called the Seventh-day Adventist who rank among people who have lived the longest in North America. An average Adventist lives four to ten years more than other people in California.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
The place had recorded at least 42 centennial people in 2017 and hence makes it to the list of blue zones.
Nearly 1 out of every 3 people here make it to their 90’s. Not just that, the place records for 20% lower diabetes rates, 50% lower heart disease rates and no record of dementia, which are some of the most common disease in the world.
Now these are groups with larger proportions of centennials, with lesser proportions suffering from fatal diseases and with maximum proportions having a way healthier life than many of us. They must be doing something right. So, here are habits that they all follow in some form or the other.
9 Habits That Will Make You Live Longer
Be On The Move
While an hour long workout or any physical activity is always recommended, a healthy lifestyle requires a lot more than that. A healthy lifestyle is primarily a non-sedentary one. Because that makes you physically fit. You remain agile and active and thereby suffer from less of the modern lifestyle diseases.
While you are busy working in front of your laptops, people from the blue zones spend their day away from their couch or office chair. They are involved in hunting, walking, gardening, and managing household chores. Simply put, they are on the move.
Schedule De-Stress Time
Stress has becomes as much a part of almost everyone’s life, even yours. And even for those who live in the Blue Zones. But you know what’s different between you and them? They manage stress. Because they know that a healthy lifestyle needs mental fitness too. You can’t just get away by being physically active. Mental health is important as well.
How? These people have built on or the other ritual as a part of their daily life which focuses on de-stress. Yes, they have a down-time daily. The Sardinians actually have the concept of a happy hour, Ikarians choose to take a nap while the Adventists pray. Different ways but their goal remains common- keeping stress at bay.
Belief is yet another factor that keeps all these communities going. Studies show that being a part of a faith based community can add around four to fourteen years in your life.
Having faith doesn’t essentially mean believing in God. It just means believing and trusting. Have faith in yourself, in what you can accomplish. Have faith in those around you, and how they can support you. A lot changes when you trust. You stress less and as a result your mental health remains in a better state.
Follow The 80% Rule
People in these regions stop eating when their stomachs feel about 80% full. You can’t have calculate it but the idea is to stop when you feel you have eaten enough but you are not full to the brim.
This is based on the science that your brain takes about 20-30 minutes to receive the message that your stomach has been filled. If you are eating fast, you would have probably overeaten by the time, your brain tells you that you are full. So, you stop before you feel you are full.
Socialise With Your Community
Let’s get this straight. This socializing does not include your social activity on facebook, instagram, twitter or snapchat. These are real-time, face-to-face interaction that you have with your close ones. Because your social health affects both your mental health. You can live long alone. You need friends and family to get you through the worst and to celebrate your best.
People in these Blue Zones who have lived the longest were known to have strong social networks. These networks don’t just provide mental support but also look after these centennials as they grow old.
Choose Plant Diet
Nutrition is yet another factor that is important for a healthy lifestyle. And this might dishearten the non-vegetarians out there but people in the Blue zones have diets full of fruits and vegetables. They prefer whole-grains. Basically, 95% of their food comes from a plant or a plant product.
They do have meat on occasions but not as a regular part of their diet. They don’t have meat more than twice a week. Same applies to dairy. Their dairy intake is very limited. Even eggs. They don’t have more than three eggs in a week.
Find Your Motivation
Ikigai is what the Okinawans call it and plan de vida is what it is called by the Nicoyans. Loosely translated, it means the thing you wake up for in the morning- the purpose of your life. Might sound to deep or spiritual, but you know what Prince Willis said, “ A life without purpose is not life at all.”
Wine Is Fine
This could be your favorite in the list. Yes, regular but moderate intake of red wine with friends/family over a meal is a common habit in all these Blue Zones. It is known to have a component that prevents arterial clogging. So yes, here’s your license to drink. But remember, moderation is the key.
Be A Family Man Or Woman
Family relations matter the most to communities in the blue zones. Another way of having good social health. As a result, they tend to take very good care of the elderly and thereby they lead a healthy lifestyle. Their family connections are strong and tight, which again is believed to add another four years to their age.
In The End
We are sure that this is not the first time you have read of these lifestyle behaviors or habits. You may be well-aware that these are healthier ways of living. And now you also have a study backing it.
A good healthy lifestyle is the one where you balance your physical health, mental health, social health as well as nutrition in such a way and they together give you a long healthy life. You can’t let go of any of them. They come in a package.
So what are you really waiting for? Switch to healthy lifestyle now!
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