By Intern – Katrina Richards
Have you ever heard of The Blue Zones? Well, they are places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth. Several of these blue zones exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years of age is common! And they aren’t just living long- they are living healthy, without medication or disability- That’s incredible!!!
You may be wondering, well what is the secret to their longevity and health? Can you guess what it is? The secret is LIFESTYLE– these people live an existence that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, religion and meaning. You can learn further details of their entire lifestyle in the book titled, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner,” however, I would like to focus on one aspect in today’s daily sprout.
In his above referenced book, Dan Buettner discusses a principle to MOVE NATURALLY. Dan is a National Geographic explorer who has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity, specifically in pockets in the globe where centenarians are consistently found.
Not one centenarian in the study has a “gym’ membership yet every one of these 100 year old plus people would put most of us to shame with the amount of daily exercise they get. One 100+ year old woman from Loma Linda, CA walks 1 mile each morning in her senior apartment center (up and down hallways), has breakfast, then bikes 8 miles and then lifts weight. Male centenarians from Sardinia, Italy, work most of their lives as Shepherds, a profession that involves miles of hiking each day. Okinawans garden for hours each day. And the male centenarian studied in Costa Rica was chopping wood for several hours before his interview began.
The bottom line– you’ve got to move to live. When our grandparents tell us that they had to walk 3 miles to school in the snow each day, they were telling the truth! If we were able to go back in time about 100 years and show those people our current culture, I think they would laugh and be baffled that we actually have to walk/run on a treadmill to get exercise. Many of us complain about having to walk 1/8 of a mile in a mall parking lot if the parking spot was too far from the entrance.
Over FIFTY PERCENT of ALL cancers could be completely prevented by exercising 30 minutes every day- And yet we still don’t do it. So, you MUST get moving. Here are some suggestions:
– Checkout the CrossFit workouts at Dr Eric’s gym, The Garage– There’s a FREE intro class, so why not? I went and I loved it! I will definitely be looking for a CrossFit gym when I move to VA Beach.
– Actually GO to the gym you have a membership to!
– Use the exercise equipment you purchased that is currently acting as a clothes hanger.
– WALK, WALK, WALK- It’s free. It’s easy on the joints. It’s great for your mind. You can enjoy nature…I could go on, but you get my point J
– Make your life harder- Take the stairs. Park in the farthest parking spot. Throw away the TV remote or better yet, go on a TV fast and use that extra time to simply move more- if you can’t cut tv out completely, make it a rule that there is NO sitting during commercials! Stretch in the shower or bathroom. Hold your abdomen in at every red light. Stand on one foot while blow drying your hair or brushing your teeth to tighten your core muscles.
– Give your children toys that encourage physical activity such as balls, kites, and jump ropes and spend quality time with them to enjoy the toys.
– Simply make movement more fun: turn on a great CD or plug in the Wii and dance for 15 minutes; jump on your trampoline with your kids/nieces/nephews; swim in your pool; follow your grandchild around wherever he/she goes for 20 minutes.
– Enlist a friend- working out with a friend is fun and they hold you accountable!
Lastly, be sure to celebrate your successes. Write them down! What I’m talking about is something you can do now that you couldn’t have done before. Maybe it’s that you can do 30 minutes of solid cardio and feel tired but good at the end. Maybe now you can walk up the stairs with a laundry basket and not feel winded at the top! Anything that you can do now as a result of your new exercise habits should be documented. It is so important to fully acknowledge those feats. There will be times when you fall of the wagon, having your achievements documented can renew your purpose. Give yourself the chance to have that at your disposal so you can fully reflect on what you have accomplished!
For those of you who are already doing all of this, good for you- keep moving towards your 100th year of quality life! Dr Eric, myself, and everyone at Healthsprout will be cheering for you every step of the way- you can do it-Happy 100th birthday in advance :) , Here’s a link to watch to get you moving NOW!
Every Excuse is a choice to fail – Don’t fall into that trap!