It’s a popular belief by contemporary scientists that the human life span potential is 120 years. Know anyone even close to 120? I suspect that for most of us, the chances are that we would be lucky to know anyone even close to 100. And that would be because we don’t live in a Blue Zone.
Healthy ageing is a burning issue for this century… so maybe we can learn something from these incredible Blue Zones.
Blue Zones is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives.
In his book aptly titled Blue Zones, Dan Buettner researches the common links amongst those living in regions with the longest disability-free life expectancy or concentrations of people over 100. Empirical data and first hand observations across Blue Zones (Sardina, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California; and Ikaria, Greece) show us that embracing elements of lifestyle, diet, community and spirituality produce 5 times as many centenarians; one fifth the rate of breast cancer and colon cancer; and one sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease.
Interested to find out how?
Studying the inhabitants of these countries, it has been noted that:
- They move naturally ie. they do not go to gyms but rather they walk a lot as a way of life. Their daily work practices provide natural movement and they continue to work throughout life.
- The have a sense of purpose.
- They eat wisely – mainly a plant-based diet, following an 80/20 rule.
- They connect – loved ones first, they belong to a community and the right tribe ie. people that share similar principles.
In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that alerts us to the fact that many chronic diseases (including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers) are thoroughly preventable – they are in fact diseases of lifestyle. This is monumental since 60% of world-wide deaths – that’s 35 million people – are caused by non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
I think we have a lot to learn from the “Blue Zonians”. But how can we apply their principles in a tech-driven society fuelled by materialism?
I believe that Lifestyle Medicine is the answer. Lifestyle Medicine is a positive healthcare paradigm where individuals are proactive in their health by modifying lifestyle factors that may contribute to disease.
In fact, because the body wants to heal and be in its optimal state, the same improvements to diet and lifestyle will not only help to reverse a disease, it will also bring your body back to overall health. Lifestyle Medicine puts the emphasis on recovering from or preventing disease by adopting a health-promoting lifestyle – it gives you the opportunity to take responsibility for your health and your life.
There are many evidence-based studies which demonstrate that positive lifestyle changes will improve disease outcomes. These are the key aspects of lifestyle medicine that have been shown to reverse disease and improve health:
- Relaxation – reducing stress levels through relaxation practices, such as meditation.
I have a Pinterest board full of inspiration for meditation. Even one minute of meditation every day can do wonders! This is a One-Minute Meditation to get you started.
- Detoxification – reducing the toxic load on the body through cleansing your home, your food, your air quality, water quality and anything your skin absorbs.
Why not start in one area of your house at a time? In the bathroom you can look at your makeup and skin care products – you might get some skin cleansing ideas from Perth Health Coach, Amelia Harvey. Or you may be inspired by my Pinterest board on natural health and remedies.
- Nutrition – a plant-based wholefood diet.
Food is a huge and very important part of my life! On my Recipe Inspirations page I have carefully curated both favourite recipes and ones to try. It’s an excellent starting point.
- Exercise – 30 minutes a day helps to prevent and recover from disease.
Don’t have enough time? Schedule it in! Nothing happens, unless it is in the schedule!
- Sleep – good quality and uninterrupted.
- Sunlight – get your dose of Vitamin D. This post shares key facts on Vitamin D.
- Hobbies – find a purpose and strong interests.
- Community – supportive loving relationships are a key to health.
This recent post on the languages of love may inspire you to reconnect with your loved ones in a different way. And this is what I have learned about love and friendship, from our wisest teacher, Barley (the dog)!
What we know for sure is that no matter the infliction, Lifestyle Medicine has the power to turn health around. It will create a platform of strength and enhance longevity by embracing your body’s natural, innate ability to regenerate and heal. These are the 9 upgrades that kicked off my improved lifestyle journey.
Did I mention that my mum and I are writing a book this year? Lifestyle Medicine is the hot topic and it is brimming with support and practical, action-orientated steps for anyone who wants to defy the ageing process and reap the rewards of feeling biologically younger. But more on that later this year!
Has this given you any ideas? Do you like the idea of taking responsibility for your health and life? Are you embracing these approaches to life and if so, what’s your favourite? How does it make you feel? And what anti-ageing tips do you have for us (please share in the comments over on site).