‘Blue Zones’, places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth. How could one not be curious to explore?
Researcher and journalist Dan Buettner, in a partnership with National Geographic have been investigating this for over a decade, but our eager intention and fascination to learn first hand lead us down our own path for discovery.
Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, the Italian island of Sardinia, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California and Ikaria, an isolated Greek island are all considered Blue Zones, or hot spots of longevity. Not only did these places have high concentrations of individuals over 100 years old, but also clusters of people who had grown old without health problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer, or diabetes.
It was the Nicoya Penisula where we learnt and were immersed in the Blue Zone lifestyle. We learned about their healthy diet and daily exercise as well as the low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, religion, and community. We adopted a local (and Blue Zone) diet; mostly vegetables, rice, greens, beans, and fruits. A daily dose of beans was key, meat was fish only and dairy, sugar and processed foods were diminished.
We’d join the locals for sunrise and sunset surfs, yoga and runs.
Taking the highline on my hand shaped quad @dwyershapes
A commonality across all of the blue zones is a daily routine of low impact, slow and relaxed exercise; walking through the hills, working the land, and generally using their bodies as they perform their daily activities. They are strong and healthy, they live well.
The further we travelled and longer we stayed, the more we noticed the happiness, low stress and generosity of time for others. Nicoyan households are usually multigenerational, with the younger providing support for the older. They each had a sense of purpose, practiced spirituality in some form and were family orientated.
With gratitude, we experienced this simple and wholesome lifestyle, which we will continue to embrace and incorporate in our future journey.