Some areas of the world people live much longer than usual are called “blue zones”. On these places, you can find the so-called octogenarians, nonagenarians and also people who reached up to the age of 110 – supercentenarians.
These areas were named like this after the Italian Doctor Gianni Pes and the demographer from Belgium Michael Poulain because when they have discovered a population (Sardinia, Italy) where people live considerably longer lives, they marked the territory with a blue ink.
At the beginning of this century, there was a demographic study that showed that only one out of 196 people who were born between 1880 and 1990 have actually reached the age of 100 years old.
Later on, there was another project that identified the following areas as “blue zones”: Icaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan) and Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica)
But the region of Barbaglia that is located in Italy is considered the world’s largest concentration of people who have reached the age of 110 years old.
So, what’s the secret and the mystery of these blue zones?
A crew of scientists and researchers (demographers, nutritionists, doctors, and epidemiologists) that were led by Dan Buettner have traveled around these areas in order to identify 9 general longevity factors:
1. It appears that the concept of sedentary lifestyle is unknown to the people that are living in these areas. These people are exposed to intense and physical activities every single day.
2. Having an “Ikigai”, a word that has Japanese roots and it is used in order to define our very own “reason for being” or in other words – all the reasons that make us wake up every single morning.
3. Stress reduction – which actually means interrupting the normal activities that are present in our everyday life in order to allow time for some other activities that will benefit our being (like let’s say – taking a nap in the Mediterranean societies).
4. There is a Confucian teaching called “Hara Hachi Bu” that actually means we shouldn’t continue to eat until the moment we are really full, but we should stop at the point around 80% of our individual eating capacity.
5. Consuming products like fish and meat can be present in lower amounts. Planet-based products are the key.
6. Alcohol is not a friend. We should drink alcohol only in limited amounts.
7. Be around people who are promoting healthy living habits.
8. Sticking around religious communities with common practices.
9. Try to build solid relationships with the family members: siblings, parents, grandparents and all the rest.
So, let’s sum this up: The most important this you need to do if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle is doing regular intensity exercise very often. Also, you should find other activities that will take you away from daily stress. Eat healthily. Don’t drink too much.
Be around people that support ‘good practices’ and have their own reason to live – their own ‘ikigai’.
It is true that longevity can actually be determined by genetics, but there are many things you can do in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live much longer.