Worldwide, four areas have been noted for having residents with exceptionally long lives. They are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy, Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece and Nicoya, Costa Rica. The older citizens manage to live to well over 100 years old. CNBC spoke with 263 residents of these areas, known as the Blue Zone. Here are 7 practical steps to apply to live a longer, healthier life.
1. Be naturally active
Instead of going to the gym and running marathons, these residents utilise existing routines to remain active. Rather than using cars, they walk anywhere they can. They also farm and do housework by hand. Their lives are designed to keep them active and not rely on technology.
You can apply this by engaging your body in your activities. If you have a desk job, you can do exercises at your desk to help you remain mobile. Or take walks between work hours. This will help achieve a long life because it ensures you remain active throughout the day. It’s also easier to maintain than having dedicated workout times.
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This is also known as Ikigai or plan de vida. It’s finding a “why” for your life. The residents of these areas found something to live for outside work. Having something to live for outside of capitalism can add up to seven years of your life. It also adds great satisfaction and happiness to a long life.
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The residents of the Blue Zone found that taking the time to shed stress helps with a long life. Stress can significantly shorten a lifespan and increase the risk of age-related diseases. In Japan, old people take the time to remember their ancestors each day. Loma Linda residents, who are practising Adventists, pray. Sardinians have happy hour and Greeks practise day naps. Different Types Of Naps And How They Benefit You
Your schedule may not have the time for day naps. However, you can always take the time to pray, meditate, journal, or reflect every morning or evening. Breaks at work can be a great time to take a power nap.
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4. 80% rule
This is the belief from China that you should stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. The Okinawans practise this as well. The residents of the Blue Zone eat the smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening. They don’t eat anymore for the rest of the day. The mileage on this may vary. Depending on how active your life is, you may need to eat multiple times a day. There are ways to ensure you don’t overeat without sticking to a one-meal-a-day rule.
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5. Plant-based diet
Plant-based diets are considered generally healthier than diets with a lot of meat. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest for adults. It lengthens life and reduces the risk of chronic illness. This nutrient-dense diet is a great immune booster. It contains fruits, vegetables, legumes, fibre, seafood, and herbal teas (matcha and oolong).
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6. Moderate wine
Many people believe that drinking no alcohol at all is the healthiest way to live. It is a much healthier option than overconsuming alcohol or alcohol use disorder. However, there is evidence to suggest that moderate drinkers have a longer life than teetotallers. Taking one glass of wine with a meal every other day can be good for the soul. A lot more might be dangerous.
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The centenarians in the Blue Zone are involved in faith-based activities. This helps increase the likelihood of long life. Loneliness can lead to early death. This is especially prevalent with social isolation. Research shows that social isolation is a huge risk for people who don’t have friends and don’t attend gatherings regularly. 6 Ways To Maintain An Active Social Life While Working From Home
In addition to having camaraderie, the residents in the Blue Zone live near their families. Having close relationships with spouses, children, parents or grandparents can reduce the risk of early death. Committing to a life partner can increase life expectancy by three years. The people who also lived over 100 years have supportive social circles. In Okinawa, they created a group of five friends called moais. These friends commit to each other for life. They also influence each other to be better people. Relationships: The Benefits Of Having Older Friends
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These habits may not necessarily help you live over 100 years. However, applying them to daily life can help increase life expectancy as much as possible. They are simple, applicable ways you can improve your mental and physical health.
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