Today I was talking to my sister-in-law about the crazy differences of how people age. What we were speaking about specifically is how one person can be an amazingly energetic, youthful and sharp 70-something while another will seem as if their body and mind are worn out, sick and tired. We all know people in both these categories and the first are the ones that give me so much hope for the future.
I had my first child in my mid-30s and it totally shifted my motivation to stay healthy. I used to strive for good health for vanity reasons - stay slender, strong and [hopefully] youthful. Now, however, I want to live a long and healthy life to see what amazing things my daughters do with their lives. I have slowly been course-correcting some health and lifestyle challenges from the last few years such as lack of movement, weight gain and high stress levels, which has already been paying off in spades with improved wellness and energy.
Back to the initial thoughts - what is is that gets people to their 70s and well beyond in great shape? One answer is the work done by author Dan Buettner in identifying "The Blue Zones". He teamed up with National Geographic to identify and research the longest living people in the world. They studied them with a group of experts such as medical researchers, epidemiologists, etc. to identify the Power 9.
The top five Blue Zones were Sardinia, Ikaria in Greece, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Okinawa (Japan) and The Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda (California). The people in these communities/regions had many things in common that helped them to live long, vital lives into their 100s.
There were 9 characteristics that they had in common:
1. Movement: They live in an environment that encourages them to move a lot throughout the day without trips to the gym or boot camp. They garden or walk as part of their day.
2. Purpose in Life: They have a strong "why" or reason to wake up in the morning.
3. Stress Management: Stress exists everywhere but it's all about how you process it. The Blue Zones have different methods such as meditation, napping and even happy hour.
4. Light Eating: The people in the Blue Zones eat less. For example, the Okinawans stop eating when they are 20% away from being full. They also eat their lightest meal at the end of the day.
5. Plant Strong: They eat a lot of beans and lentils and proportion of meat is limited to a small portion and a few times a month.
6. Wine 🍷 is Good: all Blue Zones except for the Adventists drink moderately (1-2 per day).
7. Faith: The majority of Blue Zoners belong to an organized religion and go to services
8. Keeping Loved Ones Close: Families are coherent and aging adults are either nearby or in the home.
9. Social Networking: They all have a strong social network that reflect sound wellness habits.
How many of The Power 9 are a regular part of your daily life? What could you do to add or build in on all of them?
Read more about the Blue Zines and the Power 9 at https://www.bluezones.com/2016/11/power-9/.