Over the last 4 weeks, we’ve learned 4 General Themes for how to live long and healthy based on areas where high concentrations of Centenarians live in Japan, Italy, Greece, and Costa Rica.
How Does That Correlate to Vancouver WA, USA?!
1. Increase Unconscious Movement
People who live in Blue Zones experience a vast amount of exercise in their day-to-day activities. How can we achieve this in Clark County?
Increase Your Steps
Walk whenever you can, even for short distances. Walk when you wake up, at lunch and after dinner. Walk during TV commercials or while brushing your teeth. Take a quick walk around the office every hour and schedule walk n’ talk meetings in person or by phone. Go get your own groceries instead of having them delivered. In fact, go to the grocery store multiple times per week. Take multiple trips from your car to house to unpack your shopping bags versus trying to do in one trip. Shop locally as often as possible versus ordering online to force yourself to get out and move. Park a few blocks from your destination or at the edge of the parking lot. Walk your dog as often as possible. Take the stairs and escalators as often as possible around your community and at the airport.
Schedule a hike, bike ride or walk with family or friends on the weekend. Walk with your relatives while watching your kids’ sporting events.
Consider Your Environment
As people get older, they tend to want to downsize to smaller footprints and one level homes. Consider that staying in a 2-story or larger home will force you to continue walking upstairs and around the house more every day. If you stop climbing stairs because you have moved to a ranch-style house, you will often lose the ability to climb stairs! Force yourself to move more every day, without even thinking about it.
Plant a Garden
Not only will having a garden give you access to nutrient dense, healthy foods, but also it will have you pulling, digging, bending, and moving on a regular basis.
Do Your Own Household Chores
Clean, do laundry, and take out the garbage every day. Do chores every day to improve your overall health, instead of trying to make life easier by doing chores less frequently or hiring someone else to do it.
People who live in Blue Zones lean towards a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet and don’t mindlessly overeat processed, high sugar foods.
Plant a Garden
Having access to home-grown plants is a huge gift to your health. At the very least, shop at a grocery store that provides organic, locally grown plants.
Eat fruits and veggies at each meal to provide nutrients and fiber with lower caloric content.
Eat Your Carbs
Get your complex carbs from veggies like sweet potatoes, corn and brown rice and/or non-processed, homemade breads and pastas (even if a restaurant or grocery store has to home-make it for you!)
People who live in the Blue Zones are close with their social circle.
Schedule one meal a day, or at the very least, every week to eat with your family and/or friends.
Schedule game night, movie night or karaoke every week or at the very least, every month with friends or family.
Join a book club or start one.
Join a pickleball, hiking, running, or walking club or register for another group activity.
Join a Gym, Cross-fit, Orange Theory, Barre, or other active community.
Those living in the Blue Zones value a work/life balance.
Schedule a massage, meditation, sauna, or regular baths.
Find a church or spiritual activity that you align with.
Schedule a mini vacation or adventure every few months.
Schedule a larger-scale adventure or vacation every year.
Develop solid sleeping rituals and focus on getting 7-8 hours sleep per day.
When it’s time to retire, instead REFIRE and continue to find a purpose every day that makes you feel excited and alive!
Ask yourself ‘what simple things can you implement into your life that you’ve learned from the Blue Zones to improve your longevity?” Try to make the healthier choice, the easier choice!
Previous Blogs In This Series:
The Okinawan Way to Health and Longevity
The Italian and Loma Linda Way to Health and Longevity
The Greek & Costa Rican Way to Health and Longevity
Increasing Life Expectancy by Learning from Blue Zones
Yours in health & fitness,