What do the majority of people who live to the age of 100 have in common? They live in blue zones. A concept coined by Dan Buettner, blue zones refer to regions where the predominant lifestyle and environment help locals live longer than in other parts of the world.
Some of the most well-known blue zones include:
- Ikaria, Greece
- Loma Linda, California
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
While you might not be able to pack up and move to Costa Rica, there are nine blue zone guidelines you can follow to live healthier.
Skip the Gym
The longest-living people don’t lift weights or do triathlons. Instead of buying a gym membership, they live in places that prompt them to move naturally. Consider swapping your workouts for long walks in nature, yardwork, or joining a community garden.
Try a Plant-Based Diet
The majority of people in blue zones eat a plant-based diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. A whole foods plant-based diet is a great way to adopt this principle into your life.
Go to Bed (Slightly) Hungry
People in blue zones often follow the 80% rule, where you stop eating when you are 80% full. That 20% gap is often the key to losing weight instead of gaining it.
Schedule in Happy Hour
In most blue zones, people drink wine almost every day. In fact, moderate drinkers often live longer, healthier lives than those who don’t drink at all! In Sardinia, people have 1-2 glasses of wine every day around five.
Those who live in paradise still experience stress. What sets them apart from people living in other regions is they have routines to minimize their stress. This could look like prayer, meditation, napping, or even happy hour, a routine of the Sardinians!
Find Your Purpose
The Japanese concept of “Ikigai” can add up to seven years to your life. This concept translates to knowing why you wake up in the morning in English. To live longer, focus on developing a life purpose that energizes and motivates you.
Your tribe affects your vibe–and your health. A key feature of blue zones is tight-knit communities that promote healthy behaviors. In Okinawa, people create “moias,” groups of five friends who are committed to each others’ health and happiness for life.
Prioritize Time with Loved Ones
To live a Blue Zone lifestyle means to focus on your loved ones first, whether that means caring for elderly parents, playing and spending time with their children, or committing to one life partner.
Almost all of the Blue Zone members Dan Buettner’s team interviewed belonged to a faith-based community. While their denominations and religions varied greatly, they all regularly attended faith-based services.
Living longer isn’t only about eating right or working out. To live a Blue Zone life, you have to focus on your mental, social, and spiritual health too.