According to a recent National Geographic study, the blue zones are areas of the world where people live much longer than the rest of us. They have nine secrets in common. One of those secrets is leading an active life. Blue zone fitness is not so much about full throttle exercise as it is about staying active in daily life. In fact, intense physical exercise is actually counter-productive to a long and healthy life. Not so fast, though, all you couch potatoes. Stand up and get moving. Your sedentary lifestyle is killing you too. One of the best lessons you can learn from the people of the blue zones is balance in all things. So what types of exercise emulate blue zone fitness?
Daily Life Activities
What kind of daily life activities are we talking about here? What do the people of the blue zones do to stay fit and healthy? In most cases, they garden. They also walk more than most modern people. They chop wood and carry water. They use old fashioned methods for preparing food. Not all of them have modern kitchens. Plus, they do the labor required to make their own food. They don’t eat out a lot. In other words, the activities they do to support life, give them back life in return.
I’m Not Chopping Wood
It’s OK if you don’t want to go back to the days of chopping wood and cooking over an open flame. There are plenty of things you can do to emulate blue zone fitness. Gardening is great exercise and it helps you change your diet to mirror the blue zones as well. Try walking instead of driving for short distances. Skip a few conveniences to enjoy the benefits of regular physical exercise. Clean the house a little more often, or just get out and enjoy nature.
Walking / Biking
Walking makes sense as a blue zone fitness activity. Why? Well, walking is the most natural way for humans to get around. Before there were vehicles of any kind and even before we used horses as transportation, we humans had our own two feet. People in the blue zones still use walking as a means to get them where they’re going. When they don’t walk, they bike. Both are low impact exercise.
Why Not Up the Intensity?
These days we see people jogging and running for exercise just about everywhere. They certainly look fit and healthy. Why not raise the intensity of your blue zone fitness routine by jogging or running? The answer is simple. Walking is low impact exercise. Jogging and running are high impact exercise. High impact exercise involves jarring motions that cause injury and therefore shorten life span. If you want to engage in blue zone fitness that requires a little more effort, try yoga instead of jogging or running.
Work / Laugh / Play
The people of the blue zones are not afraid of a little hard work. They also know how to laugh and play.
We don’t normally think of laughter and fun as exercise. Still they do keep us just as physically and mentally fit as work and conventional exercise. In fact, learning to work, laugh and play in balance is the most important factor of your blue zone fitness routine. It’s the key to a long and happy life as well.