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The Blue Zones

9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived Longest

By Dan Buettner
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  • Contains 6 key ideas
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The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

The Blue Zones (2012, first published in 2008) whisks you through the regions of the world with the highest concentrations of healthy centenarians. By examining how people in these regions live and interact, we gain insight into how to extend our own lifespans.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“If you’re eager to learn about far-flung spots around the world, and, on top of that, are curious to listen to what the oldest among us have to say about living a long and healthy life, I recommend The Blue Zones. The communities featured in these blinks have one unique thing in common: the longevity of their residents. Read on to find out what sets them apart from the rest of the planet.”

– Emily, User Engagement Lead at Blinkist

Key idea 1 of 6

Blue Zones are the areas in the world where people get oldest and stay healthiest.

The world is full of unique civilizations and cultures, each with its own unique habits and customs, all adding to our global health and wellness. If you want to live longer, it’s worth investigating Blue Zones, the areas in the world where individuals, thanks to their healthy habits, grow older than people anywhere else.

One of the first areas to earn attention for its unusually long-living and healthy inhabitants was the Italian island of Sardinia. Research from 2011 found that, on average, around one in 600 people in the mountainous Barbagia region of Sardinia live to the age of 100, in contrast to one in 4,000 in the United States.

The Sardinians, and people in other Blue Zones, have a lot to teach us about how to live a long life – if we’re willing to listen.

As you’ll see, it’s not your genes, but your lifestyle that has the most significant affect on your lifespan. We see evidence of this in a Danish study on over 2,500 twins; it revealed that, out of all the factors contributing to longevity, our genes account for only about 25 percent.

The truth about living longer is that there are no lifestyle changes or magic pills that will stop the aging process. You will always age, every day, no matter what. However, the aging process can be accelerated or slowed down, and the people in Blue Zones have demonstrated effective ways of putting on the brakes.

In the end, the right lifestyle may give you an extra decade of quality life. Interestingly, centenarians are the fastest growing global age demographic, especially in the West.

And getting to be over 100 isn’t about getting the right vitamin supplements or planning out your physical activities. Rather, it’s about a more natural way of life, moving around naturally and eating more fruits and vegetables. All this becomes clear in examining the world’s Blue Zones.

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