Blue Zones are made up of specific people in this world who have discovered a worthwhile formula for healthy aging. Blue Zones are comprised of five areas in the world where people live the longest.
The archipelago of Okinawa, Japan, known as the “Land of Immortals” is a Blue Zone. The small island of Ikaria, Greece, is another, as is Sardinia in the Mediterranean nicknamed “Place Where People Live the Longest in the World.” The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and the Southern California city of Loma Linda, which is home to a high number of Seventh Day Adventists, also made the Blue Zones list.
Blue Zones and the healthy communities that come with them shouldn’t be a secret. It’s a sustainable approach to living that should be spreading across the world. But instead, data is showing that people spend more time alone as they age, not getting enough of the social interaction that can bring meaning to our lives.
Spending time alone
This is certainly true in the United States where a recent report showed a spike upward in time spent alone after the age of 40, the age where we generally seem to be most engaged with our partners, family, friends, and colleagues. The data shows that when people reach the age of 80 the balance of their time spent alone in minutes per day far outstrips their time spent with others.
This has me thinking about how we might bridge this gap and circumvent the loneliness and despair that many world citizens encounter each day. It’s too easy in our 21st century cultures for people to zap their lives and miss out on the meaningful human interaction that we need to sustain us as we rush around trying to experience as much as possible. This takes a toll, and it can lead to more time spent alone, simply because we probably aren’t creating enough of the social bonds that can make a life truly worth living.
So what can you do?
You don’t have to live in the Blue Zones to lead a lifestyle inspired by them. In fact, it’s the elegant simplicity of Blue Zone living that we should be adopting. And you don’t have to go “all in” to get started. Because you might already be living in ways that coincide with this philosophy without realizing it.
For instance, exercise does not have to be an intense pursuit of constantly pushing yourself to get stronger, faster, or better. Instead, tending to your backyard garden coupled with extended walks and other simple activities is how you can move naturally and reap the benefits. Adopting a Blue Zones exercise regime is quite simple and rewarding. It’s why the daily walks I take with Francesca literally keep me on my toes and thinking about how to live healthier with every step I take. It comes naturally.
Here are more simple steps you can take to lead a lifestyle inspired by the Blue Zones:
Know your Purpose
Having purpose in your life has been shown to help you live longer. Find what you are passionate about and lean into becoming a better you each day. Maybe it’s a hobby, or a spiritual commitment that brings meaning into your life? Whatever it might be, don’t be apathetic. Find your why for living a healthy life.
Eat healthy meals with family and friends
Make mealtime not only about the healthy food, but also about connecting with those you care about. This is your daily opportunity to support those around you simply by being present. Listen to your loved ones and share your wisdom and advice with them when they need your counsel.
Get enough sleep
Your life will run more smoothly if you get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Those who sleep six hours or less are also less happy. It stands to reason. Create rituals before bed to prepare you for rest. And enjoy your wake up time, and the coffee that comes with it, if you like to enjoy a morning cup.
Get out every day
Get outside and be active every day. If the sun is shining, it can brighten your outlook. And even if it’s raining, you can find beauty and peacefulness in the drops falling from the sky. So grab your umbrella and go.
Get involved in your community
Join like-minded people in your community. Volunteer for a cause you believe in or simply look for your tribe of people who are working to make positive impact. By improving the community, you are making the whole world a better place for everyone. What could be more enriching than that?
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