This month US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE Prime health program – has some important tips on how you live a longer, healthier life. Today’s health professionals are taking a serious look at a new phenomenon called the Blue Zone. Blue Zones are places in the world where people have the healthiest and longest lives. Interestingly, it has also been shown that they all have adopted a similar, healthy lifestyle, no matter where in the world they live. In these geographic locations, it is common for people to live well into their 100’s and still be healthy and happy. Some of the Blue Zones that have been studied are Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria, Greece, Sardinia, Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, California, right here in the U.S.
As different and diverse as these locales may seem, there is a common thread that brings them all together – their residents live longer and stay healthier because of their common lifestyle. Today we want to share their secrets with you as they may hold clues about how to help you and your family stay healthy and happy over the course of a lifetime.
So, here are 5 of the key secrets that researchers have learned from those who live in The Blue Zone that you can easily incorporate into your family’s lifestyle as well.
- Get enough sleep every single night. The latest research suggests that 8 hours of sleep per night is optimal and that the best night’s sleep is achieved if we go to bed no later than 10pm.
- Move your body throughout the day. 30 minutes of prolonged exercise (even mild exercise) and periodic exercise throughout the day helps keep muscles, bones, and joint in great shape as well as improved cardiovascular health.
- Eat well. Make sure your diet includes a healthy assortment of foods. Foods should be mostly plant based. Eating in moderation is also a health principle that those in the Blue Zone adopt.
- Have Social interaction. Avoid isolation, as it offers little to the body, soul or mind. As we each begin to age, it is even more important to maintain strong social ties with friends and family. Grandchildren can be great companions for elderly individuals, so these relationships should be supported.
- Take time to reflect on what we are grateful for. Expressing gratitude and acknowledging blessings are both life affirming practices, throughout life and even as we age. Focusing on positive thoughts versus negative thoughts is pro
ven to improve the fundamental quality and quantity of human life.
So in Blue Zones, people not only commonly live to be over 100, more importantly, they age well. Preventative medicine is part of their life philosophy and they live by these rules without even having to think about it. Their daily activities involve eating healthful diets rich in local plants, walking most places, and lots of intergenerational social interaction.
Interestingly, those who live in Blue Zones generally do drink some alcohol. But they limit it to one or two drinks a day. They also typically eat meat, but not very often and in very small portions. And strikingly, they all avoid refined sugars and processed food, so common in our super market foods today.
US Family Health Plan wants each of our members to create their own Blue Zone of health, happiness and healthy aging. It’s never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle because it not only adds to your years it, it can help make those years more rewarding. US Family Health Plan supports healthier and happier living, at every stage in life. Make health an everyday part of your lifestyle and see the benefits pay out over the course of a lifetime.