Did you know?

  • Astronaut John Glenn returned to space at age 77,
  • Julia Child had her TV debut at age 51 and wrote a cookbook at age 87,
  • Frank Lloyd Wright was still working at age 91,
  • Ronald Reagan was elected to his second term at age 73,
  • Mary Fasano graduated from Harvard University at age 89,
  • Dr. William Worrall Mayo founded Mayo Clinic at age 70?

Why are some people at age 75, 85 and up full of life and laughter staying healthy and vibrant despite their “true” age?

Perhaps a study of the Earth’s Blue Zones will help.

Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live much longer than average, and stay healthier.

The term Blue Zones first appeared in the November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story “The Secrets of a Long Life” by Dan Buettner. Buettner coined the phrase “Blue Zones”.

He initially identified five areas around the world that he considers “Blue Zones”:

  • Okinawa (Japan);
  • Sardinia (Italy);
  • Nicoya (Costa Rica);
  • Icaria (Greece) and
  • Loma Linda, California.

According to Buettner, “Scientific studies suggest that only about 25 percent of how long we live is dictated by genes… The other 75 percent is determined by our lifestyles and the everyday choices we make. It follows that if we optimize our lifestyles, we can maximize our life expectancies within our biological limits”.

So What are “The 9 Secrets of Longevity”?

As Buettner and his team studied the Blue Zones, they identified nine common traits shared by those communities where people live longer. He was surprised that it wasn’t only food and lifestyle, but also creating a most beneficial environment. Here’s a look at these longevity-boosting traits, known as the “Power of 9.:

Move naturally

“Do your own house and yard work, go up and down your stairs with your laundry, knead your own dough,” Buettner advises. “Incorporate more movement every hour.”

Know your purpose

“Take time to recognize your values, strengths, talents, passions and gifts,” Buettner says. Reflect, and work on yourself.

Down shift

Relieve chronic stress by finding time each day to nap, meditate or pray.

The 80% rule

Cut 20 percent of your daily calories with proven healthy practices: eat a big breakfast, dine with your family, and begin each meal by expressing appreciation.

Plant slant
Eat mostly plant-based foods, and small portions of meat no more than twice a week.

Wine at 5

Drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. This longevity tip had one exception: those in the Loma Linda Blue Zone were Seventh Day Adventists, who abstain from alcohol.

Family first

Living in a loving, thriving family can add up to six years to your life. Work on a positive, committed relationship and stay close to your aging parents and grandparents.

Source: Blue Zones