When I sat down to the final lesson of the Smart Busy series and found out the subject was living longer, I immediately thought that red wine would be out. I’d resigned myself dying young.
Have you ever heard about Blue Zones? In 2004 a guy called Dan Buettner worked to identify areas where people lived longer. He found that in these zones, the people reach 100 years old at rates 10 times greater than the USA.
When he looked more deeply into it, he found that the lifestyles of the people in these zones shared 9 characteristics, which he referred to as the “Power 9”.
And the good news is, they’re freaking easy. They don’t require a momentous effort; they just require a small shift in your everyday lives.
1: Move naturally
Oh yeah. Forget lifting weights and running marathons. People in these areas lead lives that cause them to move without thinking.
Of course, the bad news is that most of us sit at a computer all day. So we just need to find ways to get up and move around more regularly. In Japan there’s a lot of sitting on the floor. Getting up and down from the floor is part of their longevity secret.
So what can we do? I’ve started standing when I would sit in waiting rooms or in talks. I don’t put off moving away from my computer. I sit on the floor more often. There’s plenty of ways to move naturally, you just have to commit to it.
Why do you wake up in the morning? It might be because you have a grandchild you just can’t wait to see, or because you have this book that you just must right.
Remember to make sure your purpose is based around your values, though, or you’re doing it wrong. Read more about that here.
3: Stress less
Easier said than done, right? But everything I’ve been talking about in my Mindfulness series has been leading to this action.
Eat until you’re 80% full. Then stop. Remember, it takes the mind 20 minutes to realise your belly is full!
5. Plant matters
Beans make you live longer. And if you’re lucky, they don’t make you toot. You don’t have to go full vego, but people in Blue Zones typically only eat meat 5 times a month.
Damn straight! The key word is moderation though. Moderate drinkers live longer.
You get 14 more years from attending faith based services once a week. Doesn’t matter which denomination, it has to do with the community, interacting with others and lightening your load.
This one is a no brainer for me. Put your families first. Even the oldies.
9: Go tribal
Enter into social circles that support healthy behaviours. So, no ‘bad boy' boyfriends, or hot mess girlfriends, ok?
If you want to read more about Blue Zones, there’s a whole website.
There’s also a great TED talk from Dan. He's almost as funny as me.
I’m off to get me some beans and call my grandma!