Blue Zones: How Your Location Determines Your Longevity

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Lifestyle habits of the world's healthiest, longest-lived people

Did you know that where we live is one of the most significant determinants of overall health outcomes and life expectancy? Studies have proven that our zip code is a better predictor of our overall well being than our genetic code.

The many reasons for this include access to healthy foods, great healthcare, safe environments, quality education, lots of greenspace, and a community of support and encouragement.

Aging expert Dan Buettner spent more than seven years studying the world’s “Blue Zones”; areas where people live past the age of 100 in rates notably higher than surrounding communities. His research, now widely referenced by global industry experts, led to a best-selling book and now a new series on Netflix, teaching audiences life lessons on longevity. 

As part of his Blue Zones research, Buettner revealed the “Power 9” lifestyle habits that are key to the world’s healthiest, longest-lived people:

  1. Move Naturally
    • Be active without thinking about it. Identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your day. Simple things like walking every day go a long way for your health.
  2. Cut Calories by 20 Percent
    • Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses
    • Practice “Hara hachi bi,” the Okinawan reminder to stop eating once their stomachs are 80 percent full. Serve yourself, put the food away, then eat
  3. Embrace a Plant-Based Diet
    • No, you don’t need to become a vegetarian, but do bump up your intake of fruits and veggies.
  4. Drink Red Wine (in moderation)
    • Keep the daily intake to two servings or less
  5. Plan de Vida: Determine Your Life Purpose
    • Write your own personal mission statement and find your reason for getting up in the morning
  6. Down Shift — Take Time to Relieve Stress; Relaxation is Key
    • Don’t rush – plan on being 15 minutes early
    • Cut out the noise – limit time spent with the television, computer, or radio on
  7. Participate in a Spiritual Community
    • Deepen your existing spiritual commitment
    • Seek out a new spiritual or religious tradition
  8. Put Loved Ones First and Make Family a Priority
    • Get closer: consider downsizing to a smaller home to promote togetherness
    • Establish family rituals (game night, family walks, Sunday dinners)
    • Show it off: create a place for family pictures and souvenirs that shows how you’re all connected
  9. Pick the right community —the people surrounding you influence your health more than almost any other factor
    • Be surrounded by those who share Blue Zone values
    • Identify your inner circle. Reconsider ties to people who bring you down

The good news is that the benefits of living in a community that benefits your health are always at your fingertips. It is never too late to make a move, and more importantly, you don’t have to do it alone.

There are more than 280 Caring Transitions® locations nationwide, with experts standing by to help you navigate your next move. They’ll create an individualized plan to fit your specific needs, to help make your next life transition as smooth and stress-free as possible. Caring Transitions covers it all, from home clean-outs, downsizing, estate sales and the physical relocation of your belongings, so no matter your age, you can move to the community of your dreams.


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