How to live like a Centenarian

 Photo by Sam Wheeler

Photo by Sam Wheeler

 
 

You get 8 hours of sleep a night, exercise every day and eat your fruits and vegetables — what more can you do to lead a long, healthy life?  

Take note of the five areas in the world considered “Blue Zones”. Blue Zones are home to an abundance of individuals with a high life expectancy including centenarians, i.e. thriving, vital people over the age of 100. You’ll find individuals with the key to longevity in:

  • The Barbagia region of Sardinia. Barbagia is a mountainous region of Sardinia, an island off Italy in the Mediterranean.    
  • Ikaria, Greece. An island in the Aegean Sea. The Mediterranean diet is popular for a reason!
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. These Costa Ricans love their carbs - key foods in their diet are beans, corn and squash.
  • Loma Linda, California. The largest group of Seventh Day Adventists resides in Loma Linda, California. As part of the religion, Seventh Day Adventists eschew tobacco and alcohol and are mostly vegetarian.
  • Okinawa, Japan. Some of the world’s longest lived people inhabit these islands.  

 

What’s their secret to longevity?

From the tropics of Costa Rica to islands of Japan, the Blue Zones regions appear quite different. Economic livelihood, food, history and culture are rich but distinct. Anthropologists, medical researchers, epidemiologists and demographers studied these areas to understand what a healthy life entails. The five Blue Zones share many lifestyle tenets that you can start adopting today:

 

1. Live with a sense of purpose

It’s important to know what drives you. Living your life with intention increases your life expectancy and makes life worth living. So, what drives you?

 

2. Incorporate daily physical activity

The longest-lived people move naturally every day. Their daily activity contrasts starkly with the American sedentary workplace. Try working in movement throughout your daily routine regardless of your circumstance – start the habit, ask a coworker to go for a walk tomorrow.

 

3. Manage your stress

Don’t allow the little things to build up and stress you out. Save the stress response for what really matters and when your life is truly in danger. Otherwise, chronic stress literally stresses your system, making it harder and harder to manage even the small things. People in Blue Zone regions de-stress through self-reflection, prayer, and naps!

 

4. Eat until 80% full

Live like a centenarian and adopt a mindful eating habit. Cluing into hunger cues allows for clarity of mind and better digestion.

 

5. But, save room for wine, in moderation!

Drinking during a meal with family and friends was a part of the daily routine for many of the Blue Zones, except the Adventists. Wine seems to be a common libation, especially locally grown grapes in Italy and Greece. Pour the vino, please.

 

6. Consume a mostly plant-based diet

Plants are the fuel for longevity. People in the Blue Zones eat far less meat than their American counterparts and especially love filling their plates with fiber-rich beans.  Although each region has their own unique local foods, those who live long eat the traditional foods of their land and culture while avoiding processed items.

 

7. Engage fully with your family and community

A sense of community was key in the studies of individuals in the Blue Zones. Many were spiritual followers and belonged to a faith-based organization.  Individuals in the Blue Zones also tended to be very close with family: living communally with multiple generations, investing in their children and committing to a life partner.

 

8. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals

Building your tribe is key to keeping your healthy habits in check. Join a supper club or running group to align with those who share your healthy lifestyle. We’ll be posting lots of clean living motivation on Instagram and Facebook too so join our tribe!

Ultimately, life is for living. Do as the Okinawans and Sardinians and embrace your loved ones, eat with purpose and reflect upon the abundance of your existence. And then, maybe one day, you can join the 100+ Club!

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