The Secret to Living to 100+? The Blue Zone [Infographic]

What if we could live forever? We’re nowhere near that, and unless the fountain of youth is finally discovered we may never get there. But people are living longer than ever, and the number of people living to 100 and beyond is growing rapidly. In fact, there are some places in the world called ‘Blue Zones’ where people routinely live to 100 years and beyond. Can a study of these places reveal the secret to human longevity?

Genes Have A Lot To Do With It

Genetics may be the biggest factor in whether you live a long life, but whether you fulfill your genetic destiny may be left up to other factors. If you have great genes and are born into severe poverty, for instance, there’s a good chance you will never recover according to some studies. A Northwestern University study found that poverty may affect the coding on our genes, and that even if we escape poverty we may never fully recover. Socioeconomic status is a strong determining factor for health and longevity, but does childhood poverty always mean premature death?

Community Makes A Big Difference

One of the things we can learn from these Blue Zones is that community and the way we interact with and value each other can strongly determine whether we are able to live a long and healthy life. In Loma Linda, California, the religious underpinnings of the society translate to a tight-knit community in which members all care for each other out of religious obligation. The result? The life expectancy is ten years greater than the rest of the United States.

In the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, inhabitants are seven times more likely to reach the age of 100 than the global average. In addition to an indigenous diet of corn, squash, and beans, inhabitants cultivate a strong sense of purpose throughout their lives, thus giving them a reason to live. In Sardinia, Italy there are ten times the number of centenarians as there are in the United States, and strong familial ties may be at the root of this phenomenon. In fact, in many of the Blue Zones around the world factors like vegan or mostly vegan diets, an emphasis on vigorous exercise, and a strong sense of purpose and community are the greatest differences from the rest of the world.

How Can You Live Longer?

Some scientists believe that a long life only equates to about a quarter of your likelihood of living a long and healthy life. The other three quarters have to do with your lifestyle. Making conscious decisions to exercise, eat right, and build a sense of purpose and community can take you the rest of the way.

It may seem this is easier said than done in today’s fast-paced, dog-eat-dog society. How can you eat healthy when there’s no time left for cooking and shopping? When we all have full time jobs and side hustles just to make ends meet, how can we find time for exercise? If we can’t afford to pay both rent and student loan bills, how can we build a community? These are all difficult challenges to be sure, but even small steps can help you work toward a greater sense of purpose and well-being in your life. Build community by rotating cooking duties among neighbors and friends - and go for a walk after dinner for even more together time disguising exercise. There are often solutions to the problems of everyday life that can be leveraged to achieve multiple goals.

If you weren’t born with the right genetics, don’t fret — just start making better decisions today. We may be among the first generation where the majority of people live to 100 and beyond! Learn more about Blue Zones from the infographic below.

Secrets to Living Longer: What We Can Learn from Blue Zones

Living To 100 And Beyond - inforaphic

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