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Live to 100 with these three healthy blue habits

Friday, January 12, 2024
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Healthy Living, Healthy travels

Live to 100 with these three healthy blue habits

Prioritizing your mental and physical health, relationships, and community may help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

The five “blue zones” have been meticulously studied to find the secret to long, healthy lives, given that many of their residents live well into their nineties. Despite being scattered across the world, there are several commonalities between the blue zones that contribute to their longevity. Fortunately, we can learn from the blue zones and incorporate some of their healthy habits into our routines, without overhauling our entire lives. Make a few of these small, simple changes for a few weeks, and see how they make you feel.

  1. Add slow, simple movement: Instead of focusing on their step count or activity trackers, the centenarians in the blue zones have exercise woven into their everyday lives. Whether they’re trekking up mountains in Sardinia, or weeding in their garden in Okinawa, they don’t have to think about scheduling a workout, since exercise is already part of their day. In our daily lives, this could look like parking further away from the grocery store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting a plot in a community garden.
  2. Embrace mindful eating: Most residents of the blue zones follow a specific diet – but one that is neither restrictive or obsessive. They’re mindful of what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat. Okinawans follow “Hara Hachi Bu,” a practice where they eat until they’re 80% full, and in Nicoya, they have a lighter dinner, usually of squash, beans, and corn early in the evening. Instead of following the dieting trends prevalent in North America, we can follow the Blue Zone food guidelines, which includes lots of whole grains, legumes, beans, and less red meat. A varied diet is also a great way to manage your blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.
  3. Prioritize social life: Centenarians from all five blue zones have robust social lives. They prioritize their bonds with family, friends, and neighbours, and these relationships bring them a strong sense of purpose and belonging. Many centenarians live with their children or grandchildren and are celebrated for their wisdom. However, they also love a good laugh and don’t take things too seriously, especially in Sardinia. Supporting mental health looks different for everyone, but having strong social ties can be crucial to feeling our best. Having dinner with a friend, joining a club or participating in a community event can help promote and strengthen our social life, and in turn, benefit our mental health.

Looking for another way to ensure you live a long, healthy life? A health plan can help with that. If you don’t have health coverage through your employer, a personal health plan provides access to essential medical care and preventive services not covered by your government health plan.

Healthy travels to blue destinations

Interested in learning more about the blue zones? There are numerous books, websites, and TV shows that provide insights into their cultures, geography, and residents. Better yet, fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle by travelling to your new favourite destination! Tourism in the blue zones is booming, and here are three popular destinations to consider.

Before you go, don’t forget to pack worry-free travel insurance for protection against unexpected travel costs like flight delays, cancellations, medical emergencies and even baggage issues. Less stress means more time making memories in these beautiful, blue destinations.

Explore castle ruins and embrace the cultural heritage in Okinawa

picture of Okinawa beach

With 160 islands, this subtropical Japanese paradise located south of Tokyo has something for everyone. Whether you’d rather hang out at the beach, snorkel, or visit castle ruins, you’ll have an exciting and fulfilling trip. Take a guided tour to see some of the centenarians living in this Blue Zone and see their strong sense of purpose, called “ikigai,” firsthand.

Catch the perfect wave and rainforest views in Nicoya

The Nicoya Peninsula, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, is perfect for the traveller who’s looking to catch the perfect wave, is passionate about eco-tourism, and wants a laid-back adventure. With beautiful weather year-round, you can’t go wrong with the many secluded beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests you can find here. Enjoy the surf culture and experience how the local centenarians live – with low stress, some vitamin D, and good company.

Delight your tastebuds, body and mind in Ikaria

If you’re looking for an authentic Greek experience, book a trip to Ikaria. This island is famous for its dark red wine, thermal springs, and archeological sites. Nature lovers and beach goers alike will enjoy the stunning, isolated beaches. This remote Greek Island still has resort and restaurant options, but with less crowds, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Keep an eye out for the local centenarians, who can be spotted walking in the mountains, or visiting with neighbours.

Ready to live to 100? Which healthy blue habit will you implement first?

 

This article is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Blue Zones brand; the concept of blue zones is made in the context of public knowledge and general awareness, and is intended for informational purposes only.

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