Aging Gracefully with the Blue Zones Approach

Aging gracefully is a lens that we use to envision aging. As an integrative medicine physician, I picture a healthy lifestyle as we age with grace. One viewpoint that resonates with me about aging and a healthy lifestyle is the Blue Zones research. The Blue Zones are the five places around the world with the highest percentages of people living to over 100 years old. The Blue Zone researchers found 9 common characteristics among these communities which they called the Power 9 Principles. These are the 9 commonalities:

1. Move naturally is getting physical activity without giving it much thought like gardening.

2. Down Shift is developing a practice to de-stress.

3. Purpose is understanding your life purpose.

4. Wine at 5 is the option of moderate alcohol intake which is 1-2 drinks per day.

5. Plant Slant is the preference of a plant-based diet.

6. 80% rule is eating until you 80% full.

7. Loved ones first is having the commitment of living with family.

8. Belong is having an attachment to a faith-based community.

9. Right Tribe is maintaining a social circle that embraces healthy behaviors.

Are you curious about the locations of the Blue Zones? They are Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, CA; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy. However, aging gracefully can occur anywhere. As we age, we can give consideration to the characteristics of the Blue Zone research. We can show grace to ourselves and others. For example, when someone gives us a compliment about our aging skin, we can graciously say thank you. We can create a graceful environment as we age – it’s how we feel and how we choose to live.

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