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Ever wonder why certain cultures or groups of people live longer (& in a healthier & happier state) than others? Everyone talks about the obvious things — like eating healthy, exercising, etc. But what are the ACTUAL secrets of longevity & common denominators between the world’s longest-living groups of people?
(Hint: It’s mostly due to lifestyle factors & environment, since only ~10% of longevity is determined by our genes.)
The average American born today has a life expectancy of 78.2 years, but there are a few little pockets of people around the world with a super high proportion of people living to 100 years old.
So the question is, what are these people doing differently to add 22+ years to their life?! (Because whatever is it, I want that! 🙋🏽)
Well, author Dan Buettner, set out to discover just that, and recorded his findings in his book, The Blue Zones. Him & his team of researchers found 5 places around the world where the people had the highest life expectancy & the highest proportion of people living to 100.
These places include Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; Barbagia region of Sardinia; & the Seventh Day Adventists population around Loma Linda, California.
It turns out that there are 9 evidence-based common denominators that all 5 of these groups of people share — known as “The Power 9”.
Want to start implementing these keys to longevity so you can live a longer, healthier, & happier life? Download the free Living to 100 Longevity Checklist, which highlights all 9 longevity secrets, & gives simple, specific action steps for you to follow regularly. Just click below to download yours! ☺️
“The Power 9”: Secrets to Health, Happiness, & Longevity
1. Move Naturally
These people don’t necessarily have “workouts” scheduled into each day. They simply live in environments that force them to be physically active every day, without even thinking about it.
A lot of these regions lack modern conveniences that we have — so manual labor, yard work, house work, farming, & transportation are all prevalent forms of exercise for them.
Action Step: Try to add more natural movement into your days: take the stairs, park farther away, take your dog for a walk, or play outside. If you sit for several hours per day, make sure you get up & move around at least once per hour.
Aside from moving naturally, I’d still recommend working out on a regular basis (especially since most of us are in no danger of being TOO physically active! 😉). Here are a few 10-15 minute workouts that you can do anywhere.
You were created for a reason! Living a purpose-driven life & knowing WHY you wake up in the morning will increase your joy, fulfillment, AND your overall health. Get this: Knowing your sense of purpose can add up to 7 years to your life! #holymoley! 🤗
Action Step: Take some time to reflect on what YOUR purpose is. Why do you wake up in the morning? What gives you a sense of purpose, or what do you feel like you were created to do? Maybe it’s adding value to people’s lives through your career; maybe it’s serving others through volunteer work; maybe it’s being an amazing wife or husband, or raising great kids.
Whatever it is, anchor to that & let it fuel your actions every day. If you’re unsure about your purpose, or you just want to dig deeper into it, I’d highly recommend checking out this book –> The Purpose-Driven Life.
3. Down Shift
Down-shifting refers to routines that allow you to de-stress & relax. Stress causes chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major disease. And unfortunately (as I’m sure we’re all aware of!), our culture is more stressed out than ever — and as a whole, we don’t do a stellar job at combatting that stress or “down-shifting”.
The world’s longest-living people regularly down shift (every day!), by doing activities such as napping, praying, remembering their ancestors, or even having happy hour. (Yes, I just said napping & happy hour — this down-shifting thing is starting to sound pretty good, eh? 🙃)
Action Step: Figure out what activities allow you to shed stress & relax — and then take time EACH DAY to down shift.
4. 80% Rule
Stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. (Not gonna lie, this is a super tough one for me! #foodieproblems 😬) But, if the centenarians are doing it, it’s probably a good idea. 😉
Another thing these people have in common is that they tend to eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and then don’t eat anything for the rest of the day. (Also not my strong suit!)
Action Step: Rather than waiting until you’re completely full to stop eating, try to stop when you’re satisfied & closer to 80% full.
Also, pay attention to the timing of your meals. You could try to eat your largest meal for lunch & your smallest meal for dinner. Try to eat your last meal at least a couple hours before going to bed. Or try intermittent fasting (eating all your meals within an 8-10 hour window each day).
5. Plant Slant
These 5 groups of people have a diet that is mostly plant-based. They eat meat only about 5 times per month on average, and their serving sizes are only 3-4 oz. usually.
This doesn’t mean you have to completely give up meat if you want to live to 100 (believe me, I love me some organic free-range chicken salad and organic grass-fed steak 😋). But most people WAY overdo it on meat, which can increase acidity, unhealthy fat ratios, & toxicity in the body, among other health problems (specifically when consuming conventional meats).
Action Step: Incorporate more plant-based foods & less meat in your diet. When you DO consume meat, make sure it’s organic, grass-fed, free-range, etc. as much as possible!
6. Wine @ 5
…Aaand here we’ve arrived at quite possibly my favorite of the Power 9! 😍🍷
People in all of these areas (except for Adventists) drink alcohol moderately & regularly. They typically drink 1-2 glasses of wine per day, with friends and/or food. (aka, it doesn’t work if you “save up” your drinks & have 7-14 glasses on Saturday).
Action Step: Here’s a fun one — go enjoy a glass of wine or two! ☺️ (organic, sulfite-free wines are best if possible)
~98% of the people in these regions of longevity belong to some faith-based community. Research shows that life expectancy increases by 4-14 years by attending faith-based services 4 times per month! Amazing, right?! 🙏
Action Step: If you’re not currently part of a faith-based community or attend some kind of church regularly, look into it. It’ll be one of the best decisions of your life! ☺️ If you’re already part of a faith-based group & attend church frequently — keep it up!
8. Loved Ones First
Centenarians tend to put their families first. Their aging parents and grandparents are usually nearby or even in the home. They also commit to a life partner (which can increase life expectancy by up to 3 years!), and they invest quality time & pour love into their kids.
Healthy family relationships improve your overall well-being, and it also makes it more likely that your family members will help care for you when the time comes.
Action Step: Put your loved ones first by investing time, energy, & love into your family members on a regular basis.
9. Right Tribe
“Right Tribe” refers to your social circle. Ok, this is one of my other favorite ones — especially, since I’ve been able to experience it so richly in my own life recently! ☺️
Behaviors & lifestyles are contagious, & you become like the people you surround yourself with the most. The world’s longest-living people were either born into or CHOSE a social group that supports healthy behaviors. These social groups cultivate fulfilling relationships & social well-being, as well as improve all aspects of health (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual).
A Right Tribe increases motivation, provides encouragement, accountability, & support, and makes it FUN to live a healthy lifestyle! Plus, you know you’re always there for each other & you’re not alone.
Action Step: Try to surround yourself with like-minded, health-conscious people who have similar values as you & who will be a positive influence on you.
Tell each other your health goals, work out together, make healthy meals together, encourage each other, support each other emotionally & mentally, celebrate together when times are good, uplift each other when times get hard, text each other gratitudes each day, encourage each other spiritually, pray together, have deep & meaningful conversations, spend quality time together on a regular basis, and have FUN together! ☺️
Who’s in YOUR Right Tribe?
Well, there ya have it — 9 ways to live a longer, healthier, & happier life, based on the common lifestyle factors between the world’s longest-living groups of people. And when it’s broken down like this, the keys to longevity really do seem quite simple! Cheers to living to 100! ☺️
Want to make these lifestyle habits even more actionable & give yourself the best chance of actually DOING them?? Click below to download the free Living to 100 Longevity Checklist, so you can have simple, specific action steps in an organized format. This checklist will keep these habits & action steps right in front of you, so that you remember to do them each day & can start creating powerful healthy habits!
Which of these “Power 9” keys to longevity do you need to work on the most, & which ones are you already excelling at? Leave a comment below! 🙂
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