Why will some of us only live to average life expectancy, while others can look forward to knocking up a century? National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner might just have found the answers in the world’s Blue Zones.
There are five areas in the world where people live decades longer, are more active, enjoy greater vitality and are more engaged with life than anywhere else. They’re called Blue Zones and they include Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Icaria in Greece. Dan’s research suggests that the people who live in these places share nine specific characteristics that could help us all boost our longevity.
It’s not about going to the gym five times a week, but rather moving as much as possible as part of your everyday life. Try walking more, use your hands to do simple household chores instead of relying on machines and run your errands on foot.
Discover your purpose
Knowing your sense of purpose or reason for getting up in the morning can add up to seven years to your life. Staying engaged and involved with the world around you is a sure way to keep your mind and body active.
Take it easy
Work out a lifestyle and routine that sheds stress, whether it involves taking a daily nap, praying or meditating. Staying connected to friends and family is also a great way to feel more relaxed and positive about life.
Save some room
Don't keep eating until you’re full. Instead, try to limit yourself to around 80 per cent. The 20 per cent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.
Let meat take a back seat
Introducing more fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses into your diet could help you reach your 100th birthday. That doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or vegan, you just need to let meat take a back seat in your overall diet.
Enjoy wine @ 5
Yes you read that right! Research into the Blue Zones suggests that people who live longer drink alcohol moderately and regularly. So why not start a wine collection? The chances are you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it.
Will your super last?
Check out our Retirement forecaster to see if your super
might last a Blue Zone life length.
Have a sense of community
A strong sense of belonging to a faith-based community can make a difference to your life of between 4 and 14 years. Many people find the support and camaraderie they get from sharing their beliefs gives them extra energy and strength in their daily life.
Put family first
Being close to loved ones helps maintain a sense of wellbeing. Whether it’s the support of a life partner or the warmth of family, socialising with those who know you best and love you most has many benefits.
Mind the company you keep
It's all about the company you keep. Studies have shown that smoking, obesity and loneliness are contagious, so being part of a social circle that promotes healthy behaviors can help you live a longer life.
Want to reach a century?
Try some of these ideas for yourself - you might be surprised how much younger you feel. And don’t forget contributing a little extra to your super might also make the future look brighter. Check out our Contributions calculator and see for yourself how easy it could be to grow your super balance and have more in retirement.