What is a "blue zones community"?
Blue Zones are geographically defined areas where people live measurably longer. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer and world-renowned author of The New York Times bestselling book titled “The Blue Zones – Lessons for Living Longer, from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest,” identified common elements of cultures and healthy living that produced longer life expectancy. This research has been used to develop tools and programs that help people live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic disease and higher quality life.
Anyone who has ever made a healthy New Year’s resolution knows the challenges of maintaining it over time. Your circumstances and environment conspire against you, making the goal difficult to achieve. It’s the same challenge faced by traditional health improvement programs that rely on behavior changes alone.
The Blue Zones Project is different because it takes an environmental approach to improve well-being. By optimizing our environments – those settings where we spend our time and which influence our behavior – we can make the healthy choice – the easy choice, so that we naturally adopt healthy behaviors.
The Blue Zones Project optimizes four key environments:
• Social network
• Inner self
Researchers found that people who live in Blue Zones
Communities share nine common lifestyle behaviors that have a direct impact on their increased well-being and longevity. These healthy behaviors, called the Power 9 Principles, center on moving naturally, eating wisely, knowing your life’s purpose, and belonging to a social community. The Power 9 Principles are easy, small steps that everyone can take in their daily lives to feel better, live longer and be happier. These simple behaviors are patterned after the lifestyles of people who live in Blue Zones areas.
We can get more physical activity naturally if we live in walkable
communities, de-convenience our homes and grow gardens.
Know your purpose
People who know why they wake up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.
To reverse inflammation related to every major age-related disease, find time each day to meditate, nap, pray, or enjoy a happy hour.
80 percent rule
Hara Hachi Bu is a 2,500-year old Confucian mantra; saying it before meals reminds us to stop eating when we feel 80 percent full.
Eat a mostly plant-based diet that is heavy on beans, nuts, and green plants. This is consistent with the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations to make fruits, vegetables and grains the majority of your intake.
Wine at 5
Meet your friends at a cozy pub or lounge. Blue Zones research indicates that one or two glasses of wine daily could add years to your life, especially when consumed with a healthy diet.
Living in a thriving family is worth half a dozen extra years of life expectancy. Invest in time with your kids, nurture a monogamous relationship, and keep your aging parents nearby.
Research shows your friends have a long-term impact on your well-being.
Recommit, reconnect, or explore a new faith-based community. No matter which faith, studies found that people who participate in their faith community functions four times per month live an extra four to 14 years.