National Geographic journalist Dan Buettner spent years studying each culture, pinpointing the exact reasons why they thrived before publishing his findings in the best selling book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.
Buettner found that despite the geographical differences, people living in the Blue Zones all had nine key lifestyle habits in common, which he named the “Power 9.” Here, each pillar is explained, with input from doctors about why it’s so crucially connected to health and longevity.
Keep reading for the complete intel, including how to apply the pillars to your own life.
1. Move naturally
Buettner found that in all the Blue Zones communities, movement was a regular part of daily life for the residents. The Longevity Plan author John Day, MD saw this first-hand as well when he spent a year living in remote China. Even in their advanced age, he saw centenarians working in the fields and throughout the village.
Of course, here in the States, our jobs are a lot more sedentary. But Dr. Day still says we can work this pillar into everyday life. “Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles have been engineered in a way to take movement out of our lives, so it is up to us to get in as much as we can during the day,” he says. “For example, you could take a vow to never use an elevator or escalator again unless the stairs are restricted.
Other options include an evening walk or doing everything possible to avoid having to use a car. Even vacations can be scheduled in a way that are physically active, like a vacation centered around skiing, hiking, or cycling.”
2. Have a larger purpose
Having a clear sense of why you wake up in the morning is connected to living a long, healthy life. “Purpose is related to happiness, and happiness is associated with better health than sadness or indifference,” Dr. Honaker says.
Dr. Day adds that the connection between the mind, health, and a sense of purpose is powerful. “Whether your goal is to beat cardiovascular disease or cancer, or even to live a long and healthy life, study after study has found an association of purpose in life with all kinds of better health outcomes—an effect that stands regardless of age, sex, education or race,” he says. “You have to have a reason to get out of bed every morning.
Something that pushes and motivates you. For without purpose it is next to impossible to maintain the healthy behaviors and lifestyle that is conducive to a long and healthy life.”
3. Manage your stress
Chronic stress is terrible for your health, which is why stress management is one of the pillars for living a long, healthy life. “We all have stress. The key is how you perceive your stress,” Dr. Day says. “If you view stress as something that is making you stronger or refining you then it can be a good thing. If you view stress as something destructive then it probably is.”
During his time in China, he saw that simple lifestyle habits such as eating nourishing foods, being physically active, getting good sleep, and socializing with family and neighbors all helped negate the stress the townspeople experienced, showing that the pillars are intertwined and connected to each other.
4. Eat until you are 80 percent full
Here in the States, generous, oversized portions of food are valued greatly. But in Blue Zones, Buettner found that people stopped eating when they were mostly full, not when they finished everything on their plate or were too stuffed to eat another bite. He also observed that the biggest meal of the day occurred in late afternoon or early evening, not right close to bedtime. Scientific research has shown that eating late at night is linked to unhealthy weight gain, which isn’t exactly great for lifespan.
You can read the full and original article here: wellandgood.com
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