What is Blue Zones Project?
Updated: Apr 2
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My mom recently became a Community Health Advocate under the organization Blue Zones Project. Since then, I have noticed positive shifts in my thinking, diet, and movement. But wait - what is Blue Zones Project and why am I talking about it? Blue Zones Project is a national organization that is working to transform communities into places where "the healthy choice is easy and people live longer with a higher quality of life." Various counties around the United States have brought Blue Zones Project into their communities and educated them on living longer while making simple changes to create better habits. Their lessons are focused around 9 commonalities that have been studied to increase longevity in the top 5 places in the world where people are living the longest, called The Power 9.
- found on www.bluezones.com -
I have been more conscious about implementing these 9 practices into my daily life. I wanted to share about Blue Zones Project and The Power 9 in the effort to inspire you as well. Just knowing about these strategies has resulted in me being more mindful about my choices, whether it be how I'm naturally moving my body, what I'm choosing to each for a meal, or how I want to go about a certain situation. Let's dive a little deeper into each of The Power 9 lessons...
1. Move Naturally
You don't have to be a gym rat to efficiently move your body. Those who live in the top 5 places where people are living the longest, found from the Blue Zones study, are simply more conscientious about their movement. They live in environments that urge them to move naturally, such as walking or biking somewhere instead of driving. Try being more mindful of your daily movements. Do you have the opportunity to take the stairs instead of the elevator? Can you easily walk to school instead of drive? Can you walk somewhere for your lunch break instead of stay in your office all day? Get your body moving!
Why do you get up in the morning? Answering this can offer a sense of purpose. If you're not motivated to get up each day and conquer whatever the world throws at you, take a moment to reflect and find ways to better your headspace and make some positive changes.
3. Down Shift
We often get so caught up in our responsibilities that we never take time to just breathe. Stress is so harmful to our bodies and minds, so it's best to find routines that ease us of it. Downshifting can be different for everyone - it can be praying, napping, journaling, going out with friends. Whatever sheds you of life's stresses is a way of downshifting.
4. 80% Rule
This is often the one that people are most confused by. The 80% Rule is eating until you are 80% full. "The remaining 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it." In the United States, our meal portions are much bigger than those in other countries, so just being more aware of how your body is feeling while eating can make all the difference.
5. Plant Slant
Blue Zones Project encourages those to lessen their intake of meat and increase their intake in plants and beans. Being a vegetarian myself, this rule is always guaranteed to be followed. If you're a meat lover, do not feel discouraged! They suggest you be sure you're getting enough beans and lentils into your diet, as they are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets.
6. Wine @ 5
This is the one Power 9 lesson that I cannot yet partake in, but for those of age, having a glass or two of red wine (they suggest Sardinian Cannonau wine) with dinner can increase your longevity. Moderate, healthy drinkers actually outlive non-drinkers! It's especially good if you're enjoying it in the company of loved ones. Enjoy!
Having a sense of belonging, whether that be to a faith-based community or something positive of the sort, can increase life expectancy. Attending faith-based services and feeling that sense of togetherness can positively impact your lifestyle. Denomination doesn't matter!
8. Loved Ones First
Putting your family first can improve your longevity. Keeping in touch with your grandparents, being in a loving, healthy relationship, and investing love and time into your children are examples of this. Make the effort to call your relatives every so often, attend family gatherings, and simply show your love for those around you.
9. Right Tribe
We are heavily influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. If you find yourself in toxic friendships and relationships, you're not only hurting your feelings and sense of self, but you're hurting your chances of a long, fulfilling life, too. Those who live the longest choose social circles that promote and support healthy behaviors. Habits such as smoking, obesity, happiness, and loneliness are contagious. Which ones do you want to attract?
Blue Zones Project states that "the average person's life expectancy could increase by 10-12 years by adopting a Blue Zones lifestyle." Slightly shifting your day to day habits can be so beneficial! All you have to do is put in the effort. I have noticed myself being incredibly more aware of each decision I make and figuring out what I can do that will be best for my mind, body, and soul. Leave a comment about which lessons from The Power 9 you already implement in your daily life, as well as which ones you hope to practice more!
Learn more about Blue Zones Project by reading their book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who've Lived The Longest, or by heading to their website, www.bluezonesproject.com.