People in Blue Zones, communities with a greater number of octagenarians and centenarians - share some common characteristics about the way they live their livesI’ve been enjoying reading The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer by Dan Buettner.

Dan has spent years travelling the world, meeting and studying communities known as Blue Zones, where lifestyle, diet and outlook have led to longer, healthier and happier lives, and where people often live into their nineties and even 100s!

Researchers have found common pro-longevity lifestyle elements among all Blue Zones communities. Even if “living well longer” isn’t currently top of mind for you, adopting some of the behaviours below will also help you to address the key health issues highlighted in my recent survey, including fitness and physical activity, weight loss, energy, nutrition and mobility.

I’ll go into more detail for each of the lessons in coming posts, but for now here are Dan’s nine tips learned from Blue Zones communities around the world:

  1. Move naturally – be active without having to think about it
  2. Hara Hachi Bu  – stop eating when you’re 80% full
  3. Plant slant – avoid processed foods and limit meat
  4. Grapes of life – drink red wine in moderation
  5. Purpose now – the Japanese call it ikagai, and Nicoyans plan de vida, and essentially it means “why I wake up in the morning”, or your reason for being
  6. Downshift – take time to relieve stress
  7. Belong – participate in a spiritual community, and have a faith
  8. Loved ones first – make family a priority
  9. Right tribe – surround yourself with other people who share the same health values as you

Tips for incorporating the lessons into your life

  • Figure out WHY you want to make the change – how will it improve your life, and what will happen if you don’t do it? Paint a really clear picture of yourself doing this new habit consistently.
  • Don’t try everything at once: start with just one or two little tweaks. When they become habits, pick another one or two to work on.
  • Start with what feels easiest, and most attainable – perhaps something you’ve had success with before.
  • Get others involved (family, friends, colleagues) to help keep you motivated, and accountable.
  • Make sure you acknowledge your achievements and successes; focus on these, not what you haven’t done.

If you’d like help getting started with changes,  or staying motivated, inspired and accountable I’d love to help you. Find out more about how.