Live Healthier Longer

Hi, everybody!

I’m sitting here between sessions at the Shaklee annual convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and my head is spinning. There has been so much good information thrown at us over the last 3 days I hardly know where to start to digest it all!

For those of you who are members of my Shaklee family, I’m going to take a day or two to ponder the new-product and new-business information and send out an email for you.  Watch for it!

One of our speakers was Dan Buettner who is a researcher and author for National Geographic.  He researched the longest-lived people in the world, to figure out what made them different from people who didn’t live as long.  His findings are detailed in his wonderful book The Blue Zones which is available on Amazon.  He actually figured out how to live healthier longer.

I wanted to bring you the Cliffs Notes version of some of Dan’s findings that make the Blue Zones different from the rest of the world.

People in the Blue Zones live to age 100 years MUCH more frequently than those in America do.  For instance, men in the mountains of Sardinia, Italy, live to age 100 ELEVEN TIMES more often than men in the USA.  Not only do they live long, they stay healthy and active much longer too. The big question is WHY?

There are 2 major categories of differences between those in the Blue Zones and those elsewhere.  They boil down to diet and exercise, mental attitude, and social connection.

DIET AND EXERCISE

People in the Blue Zones eat almost entirely a plant-based diet.  They tend to eat food that’s grown close to home (either in their own gardens or in their own community).  They do eat meat but just a few times per month and usually on special occasions.  They drink alcohol in moderation.

In the Blue Zones, people are active every day for their whole lives.   They walk daily where they need to go, and incorporate other exercise into their lives every day.

MENTAL HEALTH & SOCIAL CONNECTION

Here in America we are so stressed.  We are so lonely.  We hurry from place to place without feeding our passions regularly.

In the Blue Zones, people slow down.  They set aside time to relax.  They may not make a lot of money but they generally cultivate a happy attitude.  (There’s a great TED talk by another speaker at the Shaklee Conference, about how to be happy.  Check it out!)

Did you know that having 3 close friends is associated with longer life?  Do you have 3 people that you could call if you were having a terrible day, who would REALLY care?  Estimates are that in America each person has less than 2 true, close friends.

In the Blue Zones people are deeply connected with others in their community.  They participate in their faith communities, volunteer to serve others, and live in multi-generational homes.  Children grow up with their grandparents in their home.  The elderly are honored and cherished for their experience and wisdom.

One last thing that distinguishes people in the Blue Zones is that their lives have purpose.  They are valuable to their communities in many ways, they tend to cultivate their passions, and live in ways that are deeply meaningful to them.

In short, people who live in the Blue Zones live lives that are pretty much the opposite of how we live in the United States.  If we want to live long, healthy, productive lives we’re doing it all wrong.

I highly recommend that everyone read Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones.  It is a quick and very worthwhile read with actionable goals for living longer and better.

  1. Eat mostly plants
  2. Move every day
  3. Practice your faith, whatever it is
  4. Get and stay connected with others
  5. Relax and slow down
  6. Cultivate your passion – otherwise why would you WANT to live to be 100?!
  7. Be happy (and seriously, you’ve got to watch that TED talk)

QUESTION:  Which of these action steps are you doing?  Which would be the hardest?

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