Blue Zones Choose Healthy Living, and it’s Working

Staying healthy is relatively simple through diet and exercise, but it’s much easier to eat fast food, watch hours and hours of television, and remain sedentary for long periods of time. For those in well developed communities, it’s a choice. Getting in shape after letting yourself go can be tough, and most people need someone to help motivate them to get healthy and stay healthy.

What if there were places in the world where health, happiness, and longevity were the main focus, and individuals helped one another stay healthy? What if there were communities that focused on well-being improvement designed to change how people see the world through healthy living? The answer is “Blue Zones.”

What are Blue Zones?

Blue Zones, or Blue Zones Project, are geographic areas of the world where people live longer than average and have lower rates of chronic disease and illness through an environment of healthier choices in all aspects of life. The goal is to live longer, and it would make sense that Blue Zones have residents that are older than most other communities. A number of studies have found that Blue Zones communities have a large number of residents reaching 90 and even 100 years old. 

Choose Healthy

Blue Zones are healthier environments because the residents focus on healthier choices and encourage others to do the same. It is a way of life. These communities have populations with greater physical and mental well-being, improved health, and unlimited support, which can lead to healthy economic development. Blue Zones integrate residents and business owners by focusing on a community’s overall health, and when the entire community works together, small changes begin to happen. Those small changes turn into lifestyle changes throughout time.

Five Known Blue Zones

  • Icaria (Greece) 
  • Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy) 
  • Okinawa (Japan) 
  • Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica) 
  • The Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California (USA)
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Blue Zones Power 9

1. Natural Exercise Through Everyday Tasks

There comes a time in your life when you stop going to the gym or running marathons, but some communities don’t have those fitness-focused amenities at any stage of their life. Blue Zones residents don’t really lift weights or run for miles. They use everyday tasks to stay fit. Whether they are gardening or working around the house, they are staying healthy without a lot of conveniences that exist in other countries.

2. Have a Purpose

Have a sense of purpose. Some people wake up in the morning without a clue as to what their day looks like, but Blue Zone residents have a purpose which could lead to almost 10 years of extra life.

3. The 80% Rule

The 80% rule is a simple rule where you stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. The remaining 20% could assist in weight loss and save on food costs. It’s not about eating 80% of the food on your plate. It’s about not overeating and eating only 80% of the amount of food that would make your stomach near full.

4. Loved Ones First

Family comes first, period. Blue Zones families often have a houseful with parents and grandparents living under the same roof. If not living in the home, some family members live very close. With a large family in the home, parents and aging grandparents are able to spend quality time with their children, showing them how to live healthy lives.

5. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

Most of the people in Blue Zones drink alcohol regularly, but moderately. Some people claim that moderate drinkers live longer than those that don’t drink at all. Blue Zones residents drink around 1 to 2 glasses of wine each day, usually with dinner. However, they can’t save it up and get drunk on the weekends. The main goal is to drink in moderation.

6. Plant-Based Diet

Some meats, mainly pork, are consumed, but their diet is primarily plant-based, including most beans, fava beans, black beans, soy beans, and lentils. Meat is served about five times a month and the serving size is around 3-5 ounces.

7. Faith

Most belong to a faith-based community and the denomination is irrelevant. Attending faith-based services four times a month could add around 8 years of life expectancy.

8. Be Social

Many behaviors are contagious, and that isn’t always a good thing. Smoking, drinking, obesity and more can be attributed to the unhealthy people you align yourself with. However, the opposite is also true. Surrounding yourself with like-minded health-conscious people that want to live a long, healthy life can be a positive. Surround yourself with the social circles that will encourage you to stay the course. 

9. Eliminate Stress

Stress can lead to a bevy of health risks like chronic inflammation and depression, just to name a few. Blue Zones incorporate routines into the day that shed any type of stress. Some residents take time to remember loved ones that have passed or they engage in prayer time.

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9. Eliminate Stress

Stress can lead to a bevy of health risks like chronic inflammation and depression, just to name a few. Blue Zones incorporate routines into the day that shed any type of stress. Some residents take time to remember loved ones that have passed or they engage in prayer time.

The Bottom Line

The Blue Zones regions can boast of having some of the oldest and healthiest people on the planet. They focus on a plant-based diet, natural exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, regular sleep, spirituality, family relations, and social networks. 

Each of these lifestyle choices can be associated with a longer life, and by adopting them, you could add years to your life.

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