What determines a long’ healthy life?
Is it the food that we eat? A combination of the right material? Or the right amount over our lifetime? There are numerous proponents of this idea out there. Many professionals, both scientific and practical nutritional gurus, will propose a certain diet that will enhance your lifespan and increase your vitality. These specialists have been doing this since antiquity. Basically, it means, picking up a specific food or a regiment of different food combinations that you will consume and your health will improve dramatically.
Is it a well-exercised body? Or maybe several different training sessions that will use the totality of the body? Groups or individual scientists and practitioners will tell you that the secret to long life, is regular exercise and a well-toned body. They will preach going to the gym, walking, running, aerobics, or weight lifting. They say that by doing this, it will ensure you a long, happy life.
Is it being more involved with family and society? Or perhaps being socially active and spiritually minded? Psychology and sociology also hint at the need for humans to have a social life and family structure. Lack of a social and emotional network will lead to mental health issues that will impact both the nutritional and training realms.
Some experts will teach a combination of all three lifestyles. To date, there is not an acceptable and agreed-upon framework that can serve as a useful guide for one to practice with foreseeable results.
I believe that the best and most practical approach is to define what consists of healthy living. After we agree on what are we trying to accomplish we can look into how it can be achieved. We should look into different nations and cultures and find groups of people that meet these criteria. Actually, you do not have to look very far to find these pockets of people.
Blue Zones are regions of the world where a higher than a usual number of people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in Dan Buettner's November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, "The Secrets of a Long Life". Five "Blue Zones" have been put forward: Okinawa; Sardinia; Nicoya; Icaria; and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. And there is evidence that these populations live healthier and longer than the average.
People that live in blue zones are a diverse group of people. All these people seem to share the following characteristics:
Moderate, day-to-day physical activity. Such as spending time outside the house.
Life purpose. Having a good reason to wake up in the morning, and goals.
Live life with no stress. No high and low emotional outbursts.
Moderate caloric intake. A variety of foods in small quantities.
Diverse natural (Self-cooked) diet.
Moderate alcohol intake, especially wine.
Engagement in spirituality or religion.
Engagement in family life. A strong emphasis on the importance of family
And engagement in social life. Participate in social activities
People that live in blue zones are living continuous lives. They pursue goals that can be achieved slowly, or, over large intervals of time. They do not run their lives over tight schedules. Everything can be done tomorrow!
The way to achieve the previous list of goals is not to create a schedule and fit these activities as they appear above. A better and more realistic approach would be to break them down to a few basic activities and incorporate these activities into your everyday life. A modified possible list will be suggested below. Please realize that the key to success is to change your life outlook as a whole through small distinct steps that progress slowly to the desired outcome. You are not looking for goals but systems of action that will work well with your current lifestyle.
Obtain a health monitor to be able to measure your daily physical activities (Fitbit provides several great wristbands for that purpose).
A continuous brisk walk 4 days a week covering 2 miles each walk
Cook meals 1-3 times a week to cover part of your daily diet (Eat everything in smaller portions many times a day)
Consume more self-cooked food and less processed foods.
Add wine or a drink 3 times a week at dinner time before going to sleep.
Read many books that are of interest to you.
Create a journal of your thoughts and ideas. Write down at least 200 words a day.
Spend quality time with family and friends a few times a week.
Participate in intellectual or recreational activities, sometimes in a group, or other times alone.
Be more deliberate in your daily interaction with people at work and home.
Shortly, we will revisit this subject and spend more time on these ideas. Feel free to let me know your thoughts below.
Fitbit Sense is the advanced health smartwatch that helps you tune in to your body with tools for stress management, heart health, SpO2, skin temperature & more. Includes a 6-month free Premium trial for new Premium users.