The average life expectancy in America is 78.6 years old according to the Division of Vital Statistics. But there are a few places in the world where living to be over 100 isn’t uncommon such as, Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece. In these regions not only is the life expectancy higher, their minds and bodies are healthy as well. What was found that they all had in common was the following:
1. Natural Movement
Their daily lives, even in their advanced age, involved active movement working outside and around the village. Nowadays with technology, we find ourselves more sedentary especially with our desk jobs. Because of this, it is up to us to intentionally make movement part of our daily lives. A few ways to incorporate this is using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking Yoga Phamily's online yoga classes, parking the car a little farther to get extra steps in, or plan vacations centered around movement like cycling. It is recommended that you schedule at least 30 minutes of movement 3 times a week.
2. Make time to work purposeful things
Working on things that are important to you and bigger than yourself helps you get connected to living a long and healthy life. When you have purpose, it is directly related to your happiness which in turns leads to a longer life. So take time to discover what you deeply care about or who needs your help and make an effort to show up for those things. They can be as simple as spending 30 minutes reading to a child, being fully present for your family, or helping out a cause such as Black Lives Matter.
3. Avoid overeating and incorporate more plants in your diet
Eat for the purpose of nutrition and energy. Sometimes in the states, we value over sized portions of food. Try to eat to where you are about 80% full and have dinner in the early evening. There have been studies that have shown eating late at night is connected to unhealthy weight gain. When choosing what to eat try to veer towards unprocessed foods and plant based dishes, having meat on special occasions.
4. Drinking Alcohol Sparingly
In these areas of longevity, they observed that alcohol was consumed moderately with maybe 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol (specifically wine) a day with food.
5. Find your community
Studies have shown staying connected to family and friends daily slowed the aging process. The sense of belonging and support with those who share healthy goals and values increases longevity. To find your community join Yoga Phamily's virtual classes, outdoor yoga, or our Parent Support Circle here.
6. Check in with your stress levels
Spend a few minutes and make a list of things that cause you stress and see which ones aren't managed well. Some stress can be seen as something that will make you stronger or more refined such as doing one extra rep or working on a challenging problem. However, if it is a stress that is destructive then find ways to mitigate or cut it. A way to mitigate a stressful situation that is destructive is connect with friends and family who can simply just listen or help you find perspective.