Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
The Blue Zones refer to “the parts of the world where people live longest and are healthiest”.
People living in the Blue Zones “have exercise incorporated into their daily routine that focuses on social connections”.
Kenny said in Okinawa, Japan (one of the Blue Zones), there is a concept of social connection called “moai”.
She elaborated: “A small group of people commit to meeting regularly to celebrate and commiserate with each other, but also just to ‘be’ together.
“Many of these start as young as age five but continue to a much older age, and many belong to several of these support communities too.”
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Most of the Blue Zones – Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California – are in mountainous regions.
“You need good muscle mass and balance just to get around the village to meet with friends and run errands,” said Kenny.
“The Ikarians in Greece are a great example of this; they embrace mountain living, so [they] exercise simply by walking to visit friends.”
Kenny added: “The Nicoyans in Costa Rica also enjoy a profound connection to nature as well as to each other.
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“They aren’t scared to get dirty, feel the sand in their toes, or dive into the blue ocean.
“Many people work and socialise outside so they can soak up fresh air daily.”
It would seem, then, that there are four key ways to improve your longevity:
- Build muscle mass
- Connect to nature.
The NHS also shares advice on living well, which includes eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking and drinking less alcohol.
People are recommended to eat less salt and sugar in their diets and cut down on saturated fats.
Saturated fats can be found in cakes, biscuits., bacon, chorizo, pancetta, cheese, pies, and ice cream.
While cutting out such foods may seem limiting, by focusing on fruit and vegetables, you will be adding nutrients to your diet.
Protein sources can include beans, pulses, fish, eggs – instead of fatty cuts of meat.
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