If you’re like many people, you may believe that longevity is largely determined by genetics. But here’s the thing…While genes do play somewhat of a role, lifestyle factors and diet are more important. Therefore, a few changes to your daily habits could add years to your life. Here’s how changing your ways could help you live longer.
In America, the average man lives to be about 78 years and the average woman 81, according to the most recent statistics. Of course, there are variations of this with some people living a much longer life and some a much shorter life.
When we see people living longer in various parts of the world, it makes us wonder just what they are doing that we aren’t. Researchers have identified what they call “Blue Zones” where there appears to be a particularly large population of people living to one hundred and above. Although these locations are scattered throughout the world, the people who live in them all seem to have some things in common as far as lifestyle goes. We can learn some good lessons on how to stay healthy and alive for longer by following in their footsteps. Here is what the world’s oldest populations are doing:
Do you workout on a regular basis? While this is a good thing, it appears as though moving in a natural way, as opposed to working out in a gym or with particular exercise equipment will help you live longer. People in the Blue Zones move naturally as part of their daily living, planting gardens, working outside, building things and just generally being active in their environment. Learn to move more on a daily basis. Perhaps this means riding your bike to work and taking a walk on your lunch break or doing some home renovation projects.
Living With Purpose
The Okinawans call living with a purpose “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans label it “plan dvida,” meaning “why I wake-up in the morning.” It is essential to know your purpose in life. According to researchers, this is worth an extra seven years of living. Take the time to find a center in your life, a ground on which to hang your hat. It will make your life much more meaningful and add years to your life.
While you may know that reducing stress is essential to long living, few of us actually practice what is referred to as “downshifting.” Stress causes chronic inflammation which leads to many conditions that can rob you of precious years. People living in the Blue Zones also experience stress but those that live the longest seem to know how to slow down, take the time to relax and recharge. Incorporating stress management tools into your daily life is essential to keep diseases at bay and to live a long and healthy life. Learn how to unwind, relax and just say “no” if you are in overdo mode.
Eating More Plants
It appears that a diet rich in plants is most conducive to long life. Lots of beans, especially face, soy, lentils and black are at the heart of most centenarian diets. Adding in lots of greens and fresh fruits is also a great idea. Take advantage of seasonal produce available in your area. Visit your local farmer’s market for great organic finds. Meat is eaten rarely, generally only five times month or so and serving sizes are small – about the size of a deck of cards.
Moderate, yet regular wine drinking is popular in the Blue Zones. According to those living in the zones, the best thing to do is drink 1-2 glasses per day with friends and food! The preferred type of wine is Sardinian Cannonau. Research indicates that red wine, which contains, resveratrol, a polyphenol that behaves like an antioxidant, protecting the body from damage that can increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
So, are you ready to live a long and healty life? Make these few changes today and you will be well on your way.