Lifestyle Promotes Longevity
In this post, I will explain to you how a less convenient lifestyle promotes longevity. Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the products links I’ll receive some compensation which will support my addiction to all things coffee. Americans love their convenient lifestyle. For example, driving to the corner market for milk and eggs, tossing a healthy frozen entree into the microwave for lunch, or hiring the local teenager to mow the yard and finally, drive through coffee. We are used to having so much at our convenience that it’s just expected. In this post, I will explain to you how a less convenient lifestyle equals longevity.
The top four regions in the world where people live to be 100 or older are
- Okinawa 800 miles south of Tokyo,
- Sardinia in the highlands of Greece
- Nicoya, Costa Rica on the peninsula
- Loma Linda, California most notably the Seventh-day Adventist.
By longevity, I mean a life worth living. Where folks age in a way that allows them to keep their independence. The kind of independence everyone hopes for when and if we make it into our 90s. For example:
- staying in your own home
- living without the need for glasses, canes, or hearing aids
- able to cook your own meals
- able to enjoy great-grandchildren
To learn some of the amazing secrets of healthy longevity and what it takes to live a life where you can have both quality and quantity of years. Read on, while I share interesting facts of this lifestyle that promotes longevity.
What These Amazing Places Have in Common
They Move Naturally
First, their way of life is their way of exercise. They do not set out to formally perform an exercise regime. In other words, When the men of Sardinia, Italy need firewood, (Sardinia has the largest population of men who live to be 100 years old.) they do not break out a chainsaw and cut down a tree. They break out a hatchet and cut firewood old school style. Next, they ride bikes at the age of 102! Also in Sardinia, housing is built vertically so they are regularly taking the stairs. These folks definately live a lifestyle that promotes longevity.
Should one of the women in Okinawa decide that they like to bake a cake, they don’t run to the cupboard and break out a blender, they mix the batter by hand. Should the family decide to put in a garden and most do, they don’t go out and buy or rent a tiller, they use their sweat equity. This is one of several ways that physical exercise is built into their daily living routines. This lifestyle promotes longevity and is something I admire and aspire to do more of every day.
Family and Society
In each one of these 4 places, community and respect for the elderly are a priority. Here in the U.S. at any local coffee shop or bar, you might see a poster of the latest famous model or musician ranging in age from 25 -30. However, in Sardinia, you’re more likely to see posters of the oldest centenarians. Also, family dwellings consist of children, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. You should know, these family arrangements benefit the oldest and the youngest of the home the most.
Centenarians know that their tribe is very important. My favorite is the Okinawan tradition of the Moai. When you are born, your moai is already established. These are the people you will travel with throughout life. If your house burns down, they’ve got your back. Should you need someone to watch your children for you because you are in the hospital for a week, they are there for you. It is an unwavering loyalty practiced by all members of the moai.
Costa Rica has available very hard water higher in calcium. According to scientists, this seems to explain why they have fewer bone breaks and hip injuries.
All of the regions mentioned above practice home gardening. Furthermore, gardening is a fundamental way of life and a perfect way to get plenty of physical exercises.
Personally, when I started blogging and this notion is really ironic, I began to think that I might not have time this year to put in a garden. I’m seeing the error of my ways. I will be gardening this year AND I will not use a tiller or other power tools to manage it. Gardening by hand gives us the gift of good healthy food not exposed to gas fumes from tillers, weedeaters or mowers.
The garden is an opportunity for me to teach my family about the importance of nutrition, and how it benefits us physically. If you’ve ever established a garden, then you know it’s also a great workout. Interestingly, they do not seek to eat foods that aren’t in season. To them, this is simply common sense. They simply do not eat tomatoes in December.
In and around Loma Linda California, the Seventh Day Adventists are on the longevity list. Most notably, they practice a vegan diet, free of meat, milk, and eggs. Meals consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and tofu fixed in a variety of ways. Seventh-Day Adventists take their diet from the first book in the bible, Genisis.
Most importantly, the 24 hour period from Friday evening to Saturday evening is considered holy. Time spent during this period is with church and family. They also take nature walks together inside this 24-hour window as part of their time to reflect, pray and spend time with other like-minded friends and family. They count on this time each week knowing that it sustains them and refreshes them for the upcoming week.
Ikigai (eekeeguy) Okinawan for Reason for Living
All of the Centenarians will advise those of us in pursuit of longevity will tell us that having a purpose for living and greeting the sun each morning is essential to happiness. Consequently, It makes getting up every day worthwhile and fulfilling. Consider volunteering at your local food bank, caring for other members of your family, or foster stray animals until you can find them loving homes, these are the kinds of things that bring “joy de vive” to your heart. At the end of the day, you can feel good about giving back something of yourself to your community. This giving is receiving goodness from and for your heart and soul.
What’s the takeaway lesson here? Using Sardinia, Greece as the poster child for what to do and what not to do:
Lifestyle promotes longevity recommendations:
- Plant a garden for the food and the exercise.
- Walk or ride a bike as much as you can
- Avoid donut shops and burger joints so you won’t need a gym (there aren’t any donut shops burger joints or gyms in Sardinia)
- Develop grit, don’t let a convenient lifestyle make you soft.
- The number one top of the list longevity food to eat more of every day is beans. All kinds of beans are game.
Dan Buettner, the author of Blue Zones, has traveled to all these places and researched in great detail the who, how and why of longevity. Also in his book, he goes more in depth on how the less convenient lifestyle promotes longevity as well as the best foods you can eat for a long life.
Finally, this post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the products links I”ll receive some compensation which will support my addiction to all things coffee.
If you enjoyed this discussion and have ideas you’d like to share, feel free to leave your comments and share this post with friends.
I’m Karen with EmbracingAging.us
Reminding you to embrace your age
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