Live to 100? The Secrets of Centenarians

Why are there some places in the world that consistently churn out higher numbers of people reaching their 100th birthday?

The “Blue Zones” project has examined places in the world with a high proportion of centenarians and the habits they share that could benefit everyone wanting to live a longer, healthier life. Consider adopting some or all of the so-called “Power 9” that could help you add more years to your life.

  1. Incorporate natural movement. Walk more and stay busy with gardening and housework, no gym membership required.
  2. Find a purpose. “Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy,” according to Buettner’s website.
  3. Relieve stress. Find a routine that helps you shed stress at the end of the day, whether that’s meditation, relaxing with a drink or even napping.
  4. Don’t overeat. Residents of Blue Zones tend to finish eating before they’re 100 percent full.
  5. Eat more plants and less meat. Beans are a staple and meat is a treat to be enjoyed a few times per month.
  6. Cheers to your health. One to two glasses of wine per day could be beneficial, although binge drinking is a no-no.
  7. Find a place you belong. Most centenarians belonged to a community of faith, with no discernible differences in benefit based on denomination.
  8. Love your family. Blue Zone elders live in communities that welcome grandparents into their homes, nurture children and honor commitment to a life partner.
  9. Find your tribe. Having friends who are healthy can help you engage in activities that could lengthen your life.

Want to know more about the healthy habits of people in Blue Zones? Tony Buettner of the Blue Zones organization will be speaking in Grand Rapids at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Health Care Summit on Friday, June 16, 2017. Register for the event here through June 14. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the premier sponsor of the summit.

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Photo credit: Bromford

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