Tracie recently picked up a Dr. Oz magazine and an article about the Blue Zones caught her attention. It was a story about a book that came out about 15 years ago by Dan Buettner called “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.” Buettner is a National Geographic explorer who worked with a group of researchers and identified 5 communities from around the world that have the highest percentage of centenarians and in general have the longest life expectancy. He’s shared the stories of the people in these communities and distilled the principles of longevity down for us to learn from. Both Tracie and I read this book (along with subsequent books, like the Blue Zones of Happiness) and these tenants have been foundational to the vision of Active Health Solutions. So what are some these principles and how are we making Active Health Solutions a mini Blue Zone?
The right tribe – finding a group of people with a common purpose, usually related to well-being and support for each other … which honestly sounds like each and every class in our studio. Last week we saw bounty being shared from gardens, recipes being exchanged, and laughter as stories were told – all as we were moving and working on our fitness. Social connection has been researched as a major factor in health aging. And honestly, we hear as much about the enjoyment and people in our classes as we hear about the exercises and physical aspects!
Move naturally – it is not just about getting one hour of exercise each day (this certainly has many benefits) but Tracie and I believe that we need to move as much as possible all day long. The human body is meant to move and we encourage our participants to stay active. The stories we hear about gardening, shoveling, walking pets, golfing, and playing with grandchildren are truly inspirational. We even have a few health seminars dedicated to this topic, in case anyone needs a bit more help thinking about how to move more! Plus, there are many little natural movements (or functional fitness activities) embedded within our classes, and improving these will help in all other aspects of daily living.
Plant slant – both of us eat mostly vegetarian and get the majority of our macronutrients from beans, grains, nuts, seeds, veggies and fruit. As we move forward with activities and events at AHS (lunch and learn events featuring vegetarian food choices, a community garden behind the studio, and health seminars), there will be more of an effort towards plant-based options.
Now what? If you want more information on the Blue Zones, we encourage everyone to read the various books by Dan Buettner and visit their website. Buettner has also done numerous TED Talks and YouTube lectures explaining his discoveries and wisdom from around the world. Finally, we offer “The Blue Zones: Principles for Longevity” seminar that we offer as part of our regular line-up of health topics, and everyone is always welcome to come and learn.