Blue Zone exercises

Blue Zone Lifestyle: Tips for Optimal Health and Longevity from Centenarians

01/15/22

First coined by American National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner, the term “blue zone” describes the environments and the lifestyles of the world’s longest-living people. These blue zones are scattered throughout the world and contain communities exhibiting individuals with a much longer lifespan than any other areas. Some of the most well-known blue zones include:

  • Icaira, Greece
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Loma Linda, California

In this post, we’ll cover two of the basic blue zone tenants: exercise habits and diet.

Move In Exercise Snacks Throughout the Day

In today’s society, and recently further amplified due to COVID-19, we are moving less than ever. Desk jobs and meetings via Zoom have us sitting for hours on end. People often think a trip to the gym running cardio for 45 minutes cancels out these sedentary hours, but it’s not as helpful as you would think.

People in the blue zones have it figured out though. They incorporate movement (exercise snacks) into their lives throughout the day. For example, they may tend to a daily garden, walk to their local market and carry groceries home, mix their food by hand versus using a blender, or take the stairs. Many of these blue zone communities do have a simpler lifestyle, however you can use the concept of exercise snacks to improve your health.

Sample Exercise Snacks You Can Incorporate

You may not be growing all of your food in your backyard, or have a market that is accessible by foot, but there are easy ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life, like parking the furthest away from the entrance to the grocery store. Here are some more ideas:

  • Take a walk after each meal to lower blood sugars immediately following a meal
  • Get a sit-to-stand desk, which can decrease blood pressure, back pain and blood sugar
  • Don’t let family text each other from another room
  • Set your cell phone alarm hourly for a 30-second stretch and five minutes of standing
  • Do 8 lunges (or more) on every bathroom break
  • Find friends who want to walk, hike, or bike with you
  • Move around while watching TV
  • Take a yoga break to do some stretching and strengthening
  • Have a dance party break with your family
  • Do squats while your coffee is brewing
  • Walk around the house while you talk on the phone, such as walking 1:1
  • Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators
  • Make sourdough bread kneading by hand
  • Do household chores like sweeping, mopping, and washing dishes by hand

Food Choices Have a Huge Impact

Through research it was found that the diets of people in Blue Zones have several similarities. They are:

  • Mostly plant-based, consuming organic leafy greens, beans, sweet potatoes, fruit, nuts, and seeds.
  • Light on meat (but fish is ok), any consumed was a very small amount, either on special occasions or as a side rather than the focus of the meal.
  • Full of whole grains including oats, barley, brown rice, and ground corn. Sourdough bread is also eaten.
  • Dependent on olive oil for use in cooking, as dressing, or taken on its own.
  • Light on dairy, like cheese, milk, cream, and butter.
  • Inclusive of daily snacking on nut and incorporate lots of beans.
  • Light on sugar or sugar substitutes.

Quick Tips for Eating the Blue Zone Diet

If you’d like to give the Blue Zone Diet a try, but aren’t ready to go all in, here are some quick tips to get many of the health benefits of the diet.

4 Foods to Always Eat:

  • Your favorite veggies and fruits
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • Nuts (a small handful daily)
  • Beans (dry or canned low-sodium)

4 Foods to Avoid:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages (diet soda is out too)
  • Salty snacks
  • Processed meats
  • Packaged sweets

A Few Foodom Blue Zone Favorites

Ready to try? If this concept is new to you, and you are unsure what you might eat for dinner or lunch, Foodom has several delicious menu items that would be considered part of the Blue Zone Diet.

Here’s some of our favorites, available on our menu:

If you are new to Foodom, and would like to book meals, read this first – how it works.

Here’s to your health and longevity!

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