During the last day of class our main topic was what makes Blue Zones so special. A Blue Zone is a demographic region where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else. There are five recognized Blue Zones on the earth, but none of them are very close to each other. These five places all have one of the highest life expectancy and highest proportion of people who reach the age of 100. The one Blue Zone in the United States is located in Loma Linda, California. The people who live their live 10 years longer than anywhere in North America.
So what makes these places different then everywhere else? It’s not the exact area that they live in but the lifestyle in which they live. Dan Buttoner, with the help of National Geographic and a variety of researchers, found nine evidence-based common denominators that affect the lifestyle of all five of these places, also known as the Power 9. The first one is to “move naturally”; meaning that these people live in environments where they can continually be active in their daily lives without much help from machines to make the job easier. The second one is to have a purpose, or “Why I wake up in the morning.” The third one is “down shift” meaning that these people are able to use techniques that relax the mind to shed the stresses that all people face. The fourth one is the “80% Rule” where you stop eating when you feel you are 80% full. The fifth one is “plant slant” which focuses on eating healthier especially by eating a plant-based diet of beans and less meat. The sixth one is “wine @5” because individuals who live in Blue Zones drink moderately and regularly, except for Loma Linda, CA, which doesn’t include alcohol because of their religion. The seventh one is to have a belonging by being part of a faith-based community. The eighth one is to surround yourself with loved ones and to always make them your top priority. The last one is to surround yourself with people who support healthy behaviors.
All of these factors have strong correlation with the quality of life that people live. The people who live in the Blue Zones live very healthy and positive lifestyles. By living like them the average persons life expectancy can increase by ten to twelve years. In my opinion the most important thing to have out of the nine is community. Through a community that fully supports and promotes healthy living it is easy for people to be motivated to live more positively. It also will impact how younger generations grow up if they are raised through a healthy community.
Everyone can learn something from how people in the Blue Zones live. It isn’t necessary for people to live like them in every way, but you can increase your health expectancy by just improving on a few aspects. For example, you can raise your life expectancy by four to fourteen years by attending a faith-based service four times a month, and three years by committing to a life partner. We learn a lot from the Blue Zones that can impact our quality of life. Using the Power 9 anyone can figure out what part of life they have to improve. For people that our stressed they can begin to focus more on relaxing there mind more, and for those who are down can spend more time with loved ones. You can use all the Power 9’s as a template to improve your life-style quality and length.