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The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest Mass Market Paperback – October 19, 2010
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In this expanded paperback edition of his New York Times bestseller, longevity expertÂ Dan Buettner draws on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communitiesâBlueÂ Zonesâaround the globe to highlight the lifestyle, diet, outlook, and stress-coping practicesÂ that will add years to your life and life to your years.
A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle,Â experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. So what's the formula for success? National Geographic ExplorerÂ Dan Buettner has lead teams of researchers across the globe to uncover the secrets of Blue Zonesâgeographic regions where highÂ percentages of centenarians are enjoying remarkably long, full lives.
The recipe for longevity, Buettner has found, is deeply intertwined with community, lifestyle, and spirituality. You won't findÂ longevity in a bottle of diet pills or with hormone therapy. You'll find it by embracing a few simple but powerful habits, and byÂ creating the right community around yourself. In The Blue Zone, Buettner has blended his lifestyle formula with the latest longevityÂ research to inspire lasting behavioral change and add years to your life.
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Level – Easy read, medium length, but reads quickly
Blue zones, so named because while researching the first one, a blue circle was drawn around they area under discussion, are areas in the world where people live the longest. Not only do they live longer, but live better as centenarians (100 year olds) then many people much younger do in other parts of the world.
The book takes us through the four blue zones, and shares interviews, history, diets and other fact about the life of the people who live there. The four blue zones are – Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda (California) and Costa Rica. They have since discovered another one in Greece.
The final chapter gives the tips they found in common in all the blue zones so that you can create your own ‘blue zone.’
• Move Naturally – Everyone studied for the book was extremely active. They walked miles a day, gardened, etc. His point is no one has to run marathons or become powerlifter, you just need to move often.
• Hara Hachi Bu – A phrase said by the Okinawans before every meal reminding them to eat until they feel 80% full. Calorie restriction has been shown to be very important in longevity.
• Plant Slant – With the exception of the Adventist in Loma Linda, no one was a vegetarian. However, they all ate meet rarely, anything from once a week to only a few times a year.
• Grapes of Life – Wine. It plays a big role for the Sardinians and the Okinawans drink Sake, but the others consumed no alcohol. Either way, studies have shown a drink or two a day, especially of wine is beneficial to your health.
• Purpose Now – Having a sense of purpose, or a reason to get up in the morning, something that drives you.
• Down Shift – taking time to relax, meditate or slow down and enjoy life.
• Belong –To a community, but a part of something bigger than yourself. Religious communities, regardless of which one, have been shown to help people live longer.
• Loved Ones First – Relatedly, take time to cultivate relationships and spend time with friends and family. Prioritizing social life is something we really fail at in America.
• Right Tribe – People who share common goals and healthy lifestyle. Many studies have shown that who you hang out with has a huge impact on your lifestyle. Have an obese friend increases your chances of becoming overweight. Seek people who have the same above traits in mind.
Things like this are utterly fascinating to me. Both of my granddads are currently 91 years old and show only a few signs of stopping. Much of their life has included most of the traits. Modern America has us moving further and further away from these things. We eat lots of cheap, processed food. We don’t spend much time with friends or family. We do not rest often. We don’t move. I’m currently writing this at my desk, I spend far too many hours a day sitting at a desk and wondering how I can move.
Adopting as much of the Blue Zone lifestyle will not only help you to live longer, but the time you do spend will be better and healthier.
The book gives many specific examples of centenarians, how they lived, their activities, diet, life style. And it gives many examples of research and theories being studied to understand how these people’s lives reached the long healthy lives they have enjoyed, yet, it is not overly technical and very readable.
Negatives are few. The very wide diversity of the very elderly folks who partook of this study. left me scratching my head at times to find what they have in common at all, or if there are actual "lessons" to be had. The reader has to choose for oneself which are applicable and meaningful. Also, the paperback version of this book is lousy quality -- passages of faint, grayed-out text hard to read (for us older folks, ahem) and a poor format/layout that runs the end of every sentence into the binding, forcing me to bend every page in order to read it!