Greetings, friends, let’s have some fun today. For starters, I’ve been reading and researching “How to live to be 100.” I’m up for it, how about you?
Dan Buettner shares with us, on Ted Talk, and through Huffington Post how to find the path to long life and health, through Nine Healthy Habits, but first, let me have him tell you how he conducted his study, and where. (Written in 2008, updated in 2011.)
“For the last five years, I’ve been taking teams of scientists to five pockets around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. We call these places the Blue Zones. We found a Bronze-age mountain culture in Sardinia, Italy, that has 20 times as many 100 year-year-olds as the U.S. does, proportionally. In Okinawa, Japan we found people with the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. In the Blue Zones (Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica), people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers.”
First, a side note from Buettner: Somewhere in the remote Nicoyan peninsula of Costa Rica, a 101-year-old great-great-grandmother is making you look bad. Her name is Panchita, and by the time you finish your morning blog rounds, she has already cleared brush, chopped wood and made tortillas from scratch. And here’s the best part: she’s not alone.
Buetner tells us that these folks practice simple, common-sense habits as a natural part of their daily routine. He calls these habits “Power 9.”
1) Move naturally – be active without thinking about it. Identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your day.
Buettner continues: “inconvenience yourself: ditch the remote, the garage door opener, the leaf-blower; buy a bike, broom, rake, and snow shovel.
“Also, have fun, be active. Ride a bike instead of driving, for example.
“Walk! Nearly all the centenarians we’ve talked to take a walk every day.
2) “Cut calories by 20 percent. Practice “Hara hachi bi,” the Okinawan reminder to stop eating once their stomachs are 80 percent full.
“Serve yourself, put the food away, and then eat. Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses. Sit and eat not in the car or standing in front of the fridge.
3) “Plant-based diet. No you don’t have to become a vegetarian, but do bump up your intake of fruits and veggies. Use beans, rice or tofu as the anchor to your meals. Eat nuts! Have a 2 ounce handful of nuts daily (it’ll stop you from digging into the chip bag).
4) “Drink red wine (in moderation) Keep a bottle of red wine near your dinner table. Keep the daily intake to two servings or less.
5) “Plan de Vida: determine your life purpose. Why do you get up in the morning?
Write your own personal mission statement. Take up a new challenge. Learn a language or an instrument.
6) “Down shift – take time to relieve stress. You may have to literally schedule it into your day, but relaxation is key.
Don’t rush – plan on being 15 minutes early. Cut out the noise – limit time spent with the television, computer, or radio on.
7) “Belong/participate in a spiritual community. Deepen your existing spiritual commitment. Seek out a new spiritual or religious tradition.
8) “Put loved ones first/make family a priority. Establish family rituals, a game night, family walks, Sunday dinners). Show it off: create a place for family pictures and souvenirs that shows how you’re all connected. Get closer: consider downsizing to a smaller home to promote togetherness.
9) “Pick the right tribe – the people surrounding you influence your health more than almost any other factor. Be surrounded by those who share Blue Zone Values. Identify your inner circle. Reconsider ties to people who bring you down. Be likable!”
Oh, I love these Power 9’s. Most of us who have lived as long as we have, already “get” most of these, because they make our days so full of sunshine and joy.
Hopefully, you all have loving, supportive families, but, if that is not the case, find yourself a “tribe”, folks with the same values, the same kindness and the support you receive from those who love and support you. What are you waiting for? Please be kind to yourself and love yourself enough to seek out others who are kind and loving. In turn, be sure that you are a positive, happy spirited person, who cares for others. What goes around comes around. Make sure that you put out the warmth and caring that you, in turn desire.
Buettner goes on to say: “These may sound simple, and they are, but they are not easy. I don’t recommend trying to change all these behaviors at once. Pick two or three of the Power 9 to work on at a time. Research has shown that if you can sustain a behavioral change for six weeks, you should be able to sustain it for the rest of your life. Which, as the world’s centenarians have shown us, should by a long, long time.”
I thoroughly enjoyed reading a part of Dan Buettners’ fascinating story found on Huffington Post, and I hope you did as well. He is a writer, holder of three Guinness world records in long-distance cycling, and leader of multiple international adventures. His latest book, The Blue Zone, a bit of what we are reading today, is in bookstores now.
Re-reading Power 9, I enjoy a few of them already, and am looking forward to working on all of the rest, starting with number 5, writing my personal mission statement. How about you? Are you going to join me in reaching out for an exciting, fulfilling, good, longer life? Let’s make each day a lovely, exciting day. Why shouldn’t we? We are at a wonderful time in our lives. Please do join me in having fun, and giving back, and making these days of our years worthwhile.
It’s been fun being with you. See you next week.