What the Blue Zones Can Tell Us About Healthy Aging

May 11, 2022
Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, Sunlit cloudy sky over lush green mountains

The fountain of youth may not be real, but there are some best practices when it comes to healthy aging. Just ask residents who live in Blue Zones®, five regions in the world where people seem to live the longest. It turns out people in these regions share common lifestyle traits that researchers believe help them to live healthier, happier and longer lives. Learn more about these traits and how they can help you with healthy aging, here.

History of the Blue Zones®

The Blue Zones concept originated from the demographic work of Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain which was published in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology. In it, they identified Sardinia, Italy as having the highest concentration of males aged 100 or older (centenarians) and drew concentric blue circles on a map to highlight the specific villages where this occurred. They referred to the area inside as the blue zone.

Researcher Dan Buettner and his colleagues then built on that work and identified other longevity hotspots around the world, calling the group of five Blue Zones. The regions include:

●      Sardinia, Italy

●      The Greek Island of Ikaria

●      Loma Linda, California

●      Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

●      Okinawa, Japan

Healthy Aging Lessons from the Blue Zones

While it may seem unlikely that residents in regions so geographically dispersed would have much in common, they do actually share lifestyle traits that are believed to be key to healthy aging. Known as the Power 9®, these traits can be incorporated into your daily life as well:

●      Move Naturally – Keep moving daily and avoid being sedentary.

●      Purpose – Find a reason to get up and out of bed every day.

●      Down Shift – Create a daily routine that helps you reduce stress.

●      Hara Hachi Bu – Stop eating before you feel full, otherwise known as the 80% rule.

●      Plant Slant – Eat a mostly plant-based diet.

●      Wine @ 5 – Drink alcohol regularly, but always in moderation.

●      Belong – Participate in some type of faith-based community.

●      Loved Ones First – Put family first as you make decisions.

●      Right Tribe – Have a circle of friends that shares your commitment to healthy aging.

Blue Zone Benefits in Senior Living

As we said, you could certainly take the initiative to incorporate the Power 9 traits into daily life on your own, but there might be an easier way. You may not realize that senior living communities like ours support healthy aging as well. Here you have a tribe of friends and neighbors, as well as a dedicated Activities Coordinator who plans a full calendar of fun and engaging options each month from educational and enrichment programs to social events, activities and outings. And whether it’s pursuing hobbies, exploring new interests or giving back by volunteering, we offer a number of ways to find purpose.

You’ll also enjoy plenty of amenities to help you to stay active with a fitness program for seniors, health and wellbeing services, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an expansive campus with plenty of green space and outdoor common areas plus walking trails.

Not to mention the dining experience here includes chef-inspired selections, restaurant-style dining rooms and menus prepared by a team familiar with your dietary restrictions as well as preferences.

We can even help you to reduce stress in your life with maintenance-free living, support when you need it like home care services to maintain independence, as well as award-winning therapy, and an on-campus pharmacy that delivers. The convenience and added peace of mind is simply invaluable!

Contact Friendship today to schedule your virtual or in-person visit by calling 540.777.7103!

To learn more, download our
Guide to Living Better

Guide to Living Better


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