Brothers Nick and Dan Buettner have made it their mission to find out the common themes that have allowed so many people across the globe to live to 100 years’ old and beyond.
The brothers’ project, Blue Zones, has found that the longest-living cities with the highest rate of over 100s are Sardinia, Italy; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California; and Okinawa, Japan.
Despite their distances and cultural differences, the project found that each city shared the same nine qualities, which the Buettner brothers believe to be the fundamental elements to reaching 100 years of age.
The first is exercise. But don’t panic if you rely on a stair lift and hitting the gym isn’t an option – the study found that low intensity exercise, such as walking or even stretching are sufficient enough to help you live a long and healthy life.
The next point focuses on de-stressing, ‘me time’, and healthy eating habits, all of which help to reduce chronic inflammation. We know that having a glass of red wine now and again and eating more of the good stuff is key, but further to this the survey found the most common eating habits followed the Mediterranean diet. So pass the bread and olives!
The next common theme was that the individuals felt as though they had a sense of purpose, and were passionate about relationships and had strong connections with family members and friends. Having those relationships around them is what the Buettner brothers believe to be a major factor in reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, and instead contribute to overall health and happiness.