Want to live longer? Here’s the secretAug 18, 2021
At WBK, my mission is to help people feel better in their bodies for the LONG HAUL. I want my clients, members, and people to take my course to understand how to have a lifestyle that ultimately supports longevity.
I mean, imagine a world where you’re 80 you’re considered YOUNG? That’s not really the case here in America, but it is for the people of Okinawa, Japan, and Sardinia, Italy. These places are called blue zones—areas of the world where people live the longest. And we’ve come to find out that it has a lot to do with LIFESTYLE. I think it’s important to note that these people don’t just live longer. They live longer, better with less disease, less stress, more ease, and a deep sense of purpose throughout their lives.
So what can we take away? What has research uncovered about their secrets to living longer?
- They use food as medicine and preventative medicine, not as something to control and not a bunch of processed junk.
It shouldn’t shock you that they don’t diet.
No intermittent fasting or calorie counting. The food they eat is homemade, local, and seasonal.
They ensure that each meal makes up a balanced diet (notice I didn’t say restrictive) and the whole foods they’re eating deliver so many vital nutrients to their cells. They get a lot of their carbs from the land … think potatoes and brown rice, and they eat *mostly* plants. Another important thing when it comes to their diet is that they eat a huge VARIETY. Getting tons of different plants in every day provides them with an abundance of antioxidants.
HOW THEY EAT
- They sit and enjoy and appreciate the food before, during, and after the meal. Eating slowly and mindfully and enjoying the company they’re with. Recognizing that the purpose of the food is to nourish the body, mind, and spirit.
HOW MUCH THEY EAT
- These cultures eat until they're 80% full, and they both have different terms for it. A comfortable fullness that most Americans don’t know. Either we’re overly full, or diet culture is telling us ways to “eat less.” You need to start to break down the food rules we live by here to reap the benefits of having a joyful relationship with food and one that supports your total health and longevity. When you eat what you need when you need it, you build self-trust, which boosts longevity.
THEY CONSUMER ALCOHOL IN MODERATION
- No secret drinking regularly can significantly reduce mortality. But there is actually a benefit of an occasional glass of red wine (ciao Italia!) because of the antioxidant benefit. Antioxidants help prevent damage to DNA that can contribute to aging.
MOVEMENT IS BUILT INTO DAILY LIFE
- No more HIIT classes or spending hours at the gym on the elliptical (thank goodness!) In the Blue Zones, people don’t exercise purposefully by going to the gym. Instead, it is built into their daily lives through gardening, walking, cooking, and other daily chores. Studies have shown that the number of miles walked or stairs climbed predicted how long they would live. Just more proof that you don’t have to be so hard on your body. It’s actually better for it if you’re more gentle.
- It’s no surprise that getting adequate rest and a good night’s sleep also seems to be very important for living a long and healthy life… but as Americans, we thrive on getting stuff done and don’t put enough value on REST. Not getting enough sleep, or getting too much sleep, can significantly increase the risk of death, including heart disease or stroke, and causes various hormonal imbalances. In the Blue Zones, people tend not to sleep, wake up, or work at set hours. They just sleep as much as their body tells them to. There’s that self-trust thing again!
- Yep! This is a WBK pillar too! People in Blue Zones tend to have a life purpose. When you wake up and have the motivation and drive and you go to bed feeling accomplished and like you have served a purpose, you are much more at peace with yourself and feel like you have something to offer the world. This fulfillment in their daily lives is associated with a reduced risk of death because of psychological well-being.
- You’ve heard me talk about meditation time and time again. I could go on so many benefits on and on, but Blue Zones are typically spiritual communities. A number of studies have shown that being spiritual is associated with a lower risk of death. This is because it increases gratitude and self-awareness and decreases depression. Another reason to have a spiritual practice?
Here’s to living long and well through prevention