Sharyn Mayer…..my two cents
Living longer…..Today, I started my part in the better health game. I arrived at work and instead of parking in my usual ‘˜first car in the parking lot’ space, I opted for a spot a few aisles back. Why? So, I would get in a few more walking steps. I realize this effort isn’t huge and won’t effect a drastic change, but every little bit counts, right? All the health gurus, doctors and physiologists say it takes baby steps ‘” a little bit at a time and eventually it all adds up.
I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now, but what recently got me thinking was a program on which author Dan Buettner appeared. He wrote the book, ‘Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.’
The book points out the “blue zones” or hot spots around the world in which people are living very long lives with quality. These people are for the most part healthier ‘” they have documented lower incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The show I saw, focused on inhabitants of a little territory in the mountains of Ikaria, Greece, where many of the residents age well into their 90’²s and beyond. Buettner’s contention is that if Americans adopted what they can of the blue zone regions lifestyle, then perhaps we could see a marked decrease in illness here and enjoy longer, healthier lives.
So, what are the highlights of their way of living? Well, they live in the mountains, so while there are no gym memberships among them, they are getting plenty of fresh air and natural outdoor exercise by walking and working in their gardens ‘” they spend a great deal of time outdoors just “doing.” Secondly, they follow a mediterranean diet, which really is what every expert has told us to eat for years; lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains, beans and some fish. They also drink lots of herbal tea (no soda found here) and goat’s milk (I think I’ll take a pass on that one), and plenty of wild greens with their meals. Add to that, routine mid-afternoon naps, a lower sense of urgency (slower pace of living) and a greater sense of community.
While all of these suggestions may not be practical for many of us or desirable to some of us, there is a lot to take from their practices and implement into our daily lives.
So, what am I doing? I am following a little more of the diet plan (I eat tons of fruits and veggies anyway), and as I said, incorporating a little more exercise, though it won’t compare to mountain living anytime soon. Just as importantly, I am psychologically working to get to that place of serenity; take life a bit slower and breathe in the fresh air.
It really goes back to what people have said for years, only this time more literally – ‘˜take time to stop and smell the roses.’