I often enjoy listening to podcasts during my cardio workouts, and more often than not, it’s Rich Roll that I listen to. On a recent podcast, he was interviewing Dan Buettner, who has spent the last 10 years of his life researching what he calls “Blue Zones” – places where people live to be 100 or older at a rate that’s 14 times higher than most Americans do.
Not only are the inhabitants of these Blue Zones living longer, but they’re living better – remaining physically functional and largely independent as they achieve and then pass the centenarian milestone. You’re probably wondering what their secrets are. The good news is that you don’t have to wonder! Buettner has spelled them all out in a number of books he’s written on the topic. If you only want the short version, you can get it all at the Blue Zones website, where there is even an online questionnaire called the Vitality Compass that estimates how long you’ll live and how many of those years will be healthy ones. If you aren’t happy with your results, you can follow the tips provided at the end of the Compass, which have been customized for you based on your answers. There is even a free email coaching program you opt into.
I’ve been doing the virtual coaching program for about two weeks now, and according to the software, I’ve added 22 days to my life already! Of course, the “extra days” estimates assume that the healthy habit changes I’m making will be maintained over time. Meditating for five minutes once doesn’t really add three days to my life, but the cumulative effect of meditating daily for the rest of my life could result in extra years – and happier, healthier ones at that.
I encourage you to visit the Blue Zones site and have a look around. If you like what you see there, you can check out Dan’s books. His latest, The Blue Zones Solution, includes recipes that mimic the kind of diet the inhabitants of the Blue Zones eat. I haven’t read it yet, but I have it on my short list. If you have it, I’d love to hear what you think of it.