The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica could contain all the secrets to living a long, healthy life. There are regions of the earth specifically identified by their inhabitants. Blue Zones are areas in which the world’s longest-lived people reside. People who have lived beyond the average life span are concentrated these areas because of the resources and the communal way of life. The five Blue Zones that have been discovered and researched include cities is Italy, Japan, California, Greece, and Costa Rica.
According to the Blue Zones website, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica holds the record for lowest rates of middle age mortality, and the second highest concentration of men who are over the age of 100. To achieve this status, the Nicoyans, along with the other members of the Blue Zones, follow these nine practices
Exercise is obviously extremely important when pursuing a healthy life. However, those who live in the Blue Zones rarely use modern techniques when it comes to working out. Instead they take advantage of their surroundings by spending time outdoors and using the earth as their gym
The Nicoyans refer to this as “plan de vida” or “why I wake up in the morning.” Having a sense of purpose in life will allow you to operate in a meaningful way. It can also increase your life expectancy by an extra seven years.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. However those who take steps to be proactive and avoid situations that incite unnecessary pressure, are less likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease, or alzheimer’s.
Those living in Blue Zones follow an ancient Confucian mantra to not eat past 80% full. They typically only eat a few small meals a day, and never surpass the 80% mark.
Diets vary across the world, but the people who live to be over 100 all share a few main staple dishes in their meals including: a variety of beans, lentils, soy and occasionally pork. They also limit their serving sizes to about 3 or 4 oz.
Alcohol may seem like it would have many negative effects on health, but when consumed in moderation it can actually be beneficial. It helps if it is consumed with friends, and/or with food.
Out of the 263 centenarians interviewed by the National Geographic researchers, all but 5 of them belonged to some kind of faith-based community. The type of faith didn’t matter in terms of benefiting the people. Instead it is the sense of community and togetherness that aids in lengthening life.
Family structure is very important in these regions. Many of the people in Blue Zones live in the same home with their extended family. According to a National Geographic article: “Nicoyan centenarians tend to live with their families, and children or grandchildren provide support and a sense of purpose and belonging.”
Many of these practices include the core value of community. This also includes the idea that it is helpful to surround yourself with people who will help you develop healthy routines. Studies show that obesity, unhealthy habits, and even loneliness can be contagious. To lead a longer and better life, it is helpful to be around people who bring out the best behaviors.
At Number8, our community is made up of employees in Louisville, Kentucky and throughout Costa Rica. Our team travels through Costa Rica both for business, and for pleasure. We understand the value of leading a healthy, happy life. And we strive to learn from all the practices adopted by those residing in the Blue Zones. If you are looking to learn more about our company, and the work we do in Costa Rica, and in America, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!
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