Do you want to live a long, healthy life? Ever wonder what centenarians do to stay youthful while extending their lifespan? Sure, some variables for longevity are beyond our control. But genetics and external circumstances aside, there are lifestyle habits that support longevity in amazing ways. If you’d like to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life, then read on to discover the 9 biggest healthy habits from the world’s longest living people.
What’s the average lifespan?
For Americans, the average lifespan is 79 years, and women typically lives longer than men. But, you probably don’t want to be average. And you don’t have to be! There are regions of the world where many people live to be 100 years of age, without developing the chronic diseases that plague so many of us later in life. These regions are known as the Blue Zones, and they encompass Okinawa, Japan; a region of Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula; and a Seventh Day Adventist community in Loma Linda, California. Here’s what Blue Zone inhabitants do to live to be 100 years old while maintaining a healthy quality of life.
Follow the 80/20 Rule
Those who live longer than the norm typically eat less. In Okinawa, there’s an 80/20 rule — meaning that you eat until you’re 80% full. By following the 80/20 rule, you naturally eat fewer calories on a given day. Limiting caloric intake has been proven to extend lifespan. In fact, there’s an entire movement known as calorie restriction, which celebrates this rule.
Move your body in natural ways
It should come as no surprise that your average Blue Zone lifer has never had a gym membership, taken a step class or relied upon a treadmill while counting their steps on a Fitbit. No, these wise men and women move their bodies like their ancestors did. They walk up and down hills to work, hike through the forest, play with their grandchildren, chop wood, and tend to their gardens. They tend to make regular activity a part of their daily lives.
Eat mostly plants
Eating a largely plant-based diet does wonders for your health. Blue Zone diets revolve around whole foods, without the man-made, processed foods we’re accustomed to. If it comes from the Earth, eat it. If it comes in a box, don’t! And while they aren’t necessarily vegetarians, they eat meat in only small portions and only once or twice a week.
Drink red wine, but only in moderation
Red wine has longevity benefits. It contains a polyphenol called resveratrol, shown to increase life span and prevent disease. Many Blue Zone inhabitants enjoy a daily glass or two of red wine. Red wine also supports weight loss. And we need to stay trim and fit if we want to live long and healthy lives. Red wine for long life? We can all drink to that!
Stress is responsible for many diseases. It’s a precursor to gaining weight, and is also linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Centenarians take life as it comes. They know they can’t control everything, so why kill themselves trying? Integrate stress-relieving rituals into your daily life. Take an afternoon siesta, work in your garden, pray to your version of God, and meet friends for happy hour.
Feel connected to a life purpose
Centenarians in the Blue Zones believe their lives have purpose. The more you feel this in your bones, the happier and healthier you’ll be — especially as you age.
Willfully develop a life purpose in time. In doing so, you’ll live longer. In fact, studies show taking an early retirement may not be in your best interest if you want to live longer. We all need a sold reason to get out of bed in the morning. Know what yours is and continue to cultivate it as you age. It could be volunteering at an animal shelter or reading to senior citizens. And don’t worry if your purpose changes — it will! If you’re retired, stay active by cultivating new hobbies and interests. Don’t isolate yourself just because your career is over.
Make faith central to your life
Those who live extremely long lives typically have an unshakeable faith. They’re also part of a community that surrounds this faith. Attending regular faith-based services and pot-luck dinners make for strong social ties that hold spiritual significance. Life is full of heartache, grief, and suffering. The longer you live, the more pain and joy you’ll experience. This makes the spiritual side of life integral for maintaining trust in a higher power.
Cherish your family
Centenarians in the Blue Zones put their family first. They understand the importance of strong familial bonds, and sometimes multiple generations live together or very close by. In fact, studies show show that having grandparents around lowers childhood mortality rates.
Have friends for life
The importance of deep, lasting friendships cannot be emphasized enough. We are social creatures, and we need others. Having friends who’ve seen and supported us through life’s inevitable ups and downs is priceless.
Most Okinawans find their friends in their earliest years and keep those friends for life. People don’t move around as much. This means they don’t lose touch with friends the way we do in America. While traveling and evolving is important for many of us, we can make a point to cherish and maintain long-lasting friendships, even if we’re living halfway across the globe from one another.
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss programs are custom-tailored to help you meet your goals and to address the underlying factors that can make weight-loss difficult. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and start living a healthier, happier life!