I found this article interesting, although it’s a few years old. I don’t know how the life span compares to communities surrounding the ones listed. The things each community does or has do sound a lot like the health advice given to patients to stay healthy and each community has things in common with each other.
The things that likely make a “blue zone” a blue zone are as follows:
1) They maintain a healthy plant based diet. With the exception of Seventh Day Adventists who don’t eat meat at all, meat is only eaten either in moderation or very rarely. In Okinawa people grow their own food, which also means they’re outside walking, bending, exercising, etc.
2) Exercise is done. It can be physical work, it can be walking. Current recommendations are for 2.5 hours of exercise a week (this works out to roughly 20-30 minutes daily).
3) People are part of the community. Some have made the claim that regular church going helps you live longer. Given that there’s no empiric evidence for a higher power, it’s more likely the social contacts, the sense of belonging or being part of something greater than oneself that help maintain emotional health. I won’t ponder more about this at the moment. At this point I’m planning a post talking more about this because it deserves a post of it’s own (or two).
Of note, I haven’t been too active blogging here the past couple of years and am planning on becoming more active in doing so. I am considering adding another blog where I talk about self care things people can do to helps stay healthy and keep this blog to talk more about medicine itself, and talk about specific illnesses. Let me know which (an additional blog about staying healthy/self care issues + this one or an “all in one” blog) you think would work better.