Those who wish to sing always find a song.
~ a Swedish proverb

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The idea of living past 100 years old is not appealing to many people because often it is associated with diminished health and mental abilities. After reading this book that stereotype will be put to rest.

The idea of aging has always fascinated me especially since having such a close relationship with my Nana. She lived in her own apartment with such life and vitality right up till the week before she passed away. She was two months shy of 92. I loved to brag about her age and how vibrant a life she was still living. When I read this book it was obvious to me how she encompassed many of the qualities that these centenarians shared.

This book was written by Dan Buettner who's groundbreaking work on longevity led to his 2005 National Geographic cover story "Secrets of Living Longer". He has since become the founder of Blue Zones, an organization that helps people live longer and healthier lives.

This book is not so much a "how to" but rather a book about a collection of amazing individuals who have common threads to how they live their lives. Dan Buettner and his team identify four of the world's Blue Zones; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California and the Nicoyan Peninsula in Costa Rica.

After spending time getting to know these inspiring men and women, the author Dan Buettner asks them what they feel is the secret to living. The key to them for living a full life was to live simply.

I love lists...this is a list of suggestions for living a healthy long life taken from the advice given by a handful of our worlds centenarians.

  • Put family first where every member of the family is cared for. People who live in strong, healthy families suffer lower rates of depression, suicide and stress.
  • Celebrate elders in our communities and in our families.
  • Laugh with friends. Laughter reduces stress and is fun.
  • Move. Be active without having to think about it. Walk. Dance. Do yoga. Plant a garden.
  • Eat less meat and processed foods.
  • Lower your daily calories. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Rather than eating till you are no longer full, try eating till you are no longer hungry.
  • Drink red wine in moderation. (I like this one.)
  • Have a purpose in life. See the "bigger picture".
  • Take time to relieve stress. Consider reducing noise in your life, be early, try meditating.
  • Belong to a community.
  • Surround yourself with others who share the same values.
  • Get outside and enjoy the sun, nature, water.
  • Drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest.
My Nana was an inspiration to me and many of those around her. She did live fully. She had a sense of purpose, she felt grateful, she belonged and felt valued. She died happy and loved. This is a true achievement of success after living a long and healthy life.

Take a look at the Blue Zone website to learn more about living longer.

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