For over a decade now, our team has studied the world’s longest-lived people. Their longevity has nothing to do with brute discipline, diets, exercise programs, or supplements. In blue zones areas around the world, longevity happens to people. It’s the result of the right environment that constantly nudges them into moving more, eating more plants and beans while eating less meat and sugar, socializing with the right people, and living out their values. It’s that simple, really.
No matter where you live, you can optimize your life for more years of health and vitality.
Learn the secrets to longevity
Working with National Geographic, my team has carefully distilled the common denominators of the world’s longest-lived people — how they move, find purpose, build social equity, and eat. Take some time to view the TED Talk or read one of the Blue Zones books. You can order them here, or I’d be just as happy if you check it out at your local library.
Take the True Vitality™ Test
“You can’t measure it if you can’t manage it,” holds true for most pursuits, including longevity. Developed in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, the True Vitality™ Test will calculate your life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and give you customized recommendations. It’s free and takes four minutes. It will keep track of results so you can come back in a few months to take it again to see extra life years stack up.
Blue Zones your home
You can avoid about 100 calories of mindless eating and mindlessly burn about 150 calories if you implement these evidence-based optimizations to your home:
- In your kitchen, establish an out-of-the-way junk food drawer, remove the toaster from your counter top, buy a nice fruit bowl, put it in a prominent place and keep it full. Also, get rid of the kitchen TV. Print and post the Blue Zones Food Guidelines.
- In your bedroom, make sure you can block out all lights, remove electronics and set the thermostat for 61 degrees at night (optimal sleeping temperature).
- De-convenience your house by getting rid of power appliances and replacing them with hand tools like eggbeaters, can openers, snow shovels, and push mowers.
You can get a full checklist in my books if you want to do a thorough job at blue zoning your home.
Upgrade your social network
While I’d never recommend you dump you old friends, I will tell you that if you’re hanging out with people who “belly up” to the bar and gather around junk food, you’re likely to follow their habits. Likewise, if your friends eat plant-based food, recreate around sports or walks, and are intellectually curious, their lifestyle will rub off on you. If you’re in one of our Blue Zones Project® Cities, we’ll help you join a moai and make new friends. If you’re not, join a club or try a new place of worship.
Altruism stimulates the same neural pathways as sugar and cocaine. But unlike drugs, volunteering is a healthy addiction. People who volunteer tend to lose weight, have lower rates of heart disease, and report higher levels of happiness. Decide what you do best and volunteer your time. Make a point of signing up this month.
This year, don’t waste your time and money on marketed weight-loss schemes. Make these five long-term investments in your longevity beginning this week. Then, come to our Blue Zones Facebook Page and tell us how you’re doing.