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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Christopher Leet, MD, FACC
Live Fully, Live Longer
. http://www.orthovirginia.com/

Live Fully, Live Longer

Live Fully, Live Longer

Create Your Own “Blue Zone”

Recent studies are pointing to some very simple lifestyle choices that will add quality and years to our lives.

The Blue Zones is a book reporting on a project that studies the regions of the world where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. We can all create our own “blue zone” by incorporating the identified lifestyle components into our lives helping to insure a longer, healthier life.

There are six basic findings.

Family – Family is put ahead of other concerns.

No Smoking Centenarians do not typically smoke.

Plant-Based Diet – The majority of food consumed is derived from plants.

Constant Moderate Physical Activity – Moderate physical activity is an inseparable part of life.

Social Engagement – People of all ages are socially active and integrated into their communities.

Legumes – Legumes are commonly consumed.

With better science and medicine we are finding that life expectancy here in the United States has increased. However, there has also been an increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimers, arthritis, and cancer. We gain little if we live longer only to suffer for it.

Keep your body moving. Moving your body will reduce the chance of having heart disease, keep your arteries flexible, improve blood flow to organs and improve your joint function to reduce the tendency toward arthritis. You will sleep better, and your immune system will function better to ward off other diseases. We can make lifestyle changes that keep us moving. If your job requires long sessions of sitting, then incorporate a few minutes of movement into every hour.

Eat like a Mediterranean. Each of these populations eats more food from plant sources than from meats. Eat more fish and chicken than red meat. Their foods are simple and consequently have fewer calories. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared several popular diets, and found that the only real factor correlating with weight loss and improved health is reduced caloric intake. Choose the sunny side of the street. It would seem obvious that happier people live longer. While the lives of those in the study would not be considered easy by western civilization standards, they laughed and smiled often. We all can choose to live with happiness, purpose and gratefulness. This way of being is found to reduce the levels of adrenaline and steroid hormones.

Prioritize family and friends. There is no way to ignore how important social relationships are to longevity. The people of this study incorporate interaction with family and friends into every day. They are seldom engaged in isolated activity. They prioritize relationships and are focused on others. In return, they receive health, happiness and longer life.

With only a few simple changes we can create our own “blue zone” and a have more healthy years to enjoy family and friends and experience more of lifes adventures.

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