The Blue Zone Project started with a research study to conclude where the highest concentrations of centenarians living full and healthy lives reside across the globe. They dove into these cultures to find the 9 commonalities amongst these places varying from the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica to Sardinia, Italy. They call these the power 9 and they are simple and easy keys to living a longer and healthier life. The Blue Zones Project has taken this information learned from these cultures and found ways to implement change into our communities so we might make the best out of the place we live and the time we have here.
The Power 9
Move Naturally– The people they have found to live the longest are not running marathons and exercising rigorously. They live in environments that encourage more natural movement and less unnecessary machines doing the work for them. This one is simple, in a sedentary world find a way to move!
Purpose- You can look at this one as ‘Why I wake up in the morning.’ In these cultures there is no such thing as ‘retirement,’ they live so long because they get out of bed each day with a reason to do so. It can be something as simple as walking the kids to school or going out each day to catch dinner for the family, either way they find purpose to their days rather than watching them fly by.
Down Shift- We experience more stress than ever before in our fast paced world and we often forget to take a moment and stop to appreciate all we have already. Some cultures pray, some nap, and others drink, the main idea is to take the time to do something for you and reflect.
80% Rule– This rule is one that our society needs a PSA on, ‘YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE.’ It takes 30 minutes for your stomach to send the signal to your brain that you are full, so only eat to 80% and you’ll save yourself the stomach pain and the leftovers for later.
Plant Slant- The majority of centenarians get their protein from plants, now this isn’t to say they do not eat meat. They do, however, only consume meat products about 5 times a month on average and their serving sizes are about half that of ours. There has been further research done on this because of their low instances of heart disease and cancer rates (THE CHINA STUDY).
Wine @ 5– With the exception of the seventh day Adventists in Loma Linda, California all of these cultures drink moderately and regularly. They say 1-2 drinks with friends and family a day keeps the doctor away. See Power #8 these people are also the ones unknowingly helping you live longer!
Belong- Regardless of the denomination, 258/263 of the centenarians they interviewed in their research belonged to some kind of faith organization. The hope for something more and feeling connected to and apart of this world is an essential part of living a full life. Join a group or organization that has similar interests as you to make you feel connected.
Loved Ones First– The research showed that these cultures had their loved ones nearby throughout their lives, grandparents in the home with their grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren have purpose and the young ones have the benefit of great caregivers. They also found that having a life partner can add up to 3 years on to your life.
Right Tribe- In Okinawa they call them “moais.” This is considered your tribe. These people you get together with and spend time with that have similar interests as you. Each month gather together with your Moai and choose an activity to do. Whether it’s going for a walk or the gym together, the idea is to spend time focusing on each other getting healthy together, being accountable to one another, and growing together.
How is Purely You Spa getting involved?
Purely You Spa is trying to help the Blue Zones Project here in Southwest Florida by getting the word out. The project is works with individuals, organizations, and businesses in the area to make our community safer, healthier, and happier. All of our employees here at Purely You have done their part to sign the personal pledge and we will be hosting Ladies Night events coming up in the near future as well as a “Blue Zone Special” to keep spreading the word, make sure you keep an eye out for it!
How can I get involved?
There are so many great ways to get involved with this project! They have ambassador trainings for anyone that would like more information to bring back to their place of work or any other organization that might be able to support the project. There are purpose workshops that use a deck of cards to pinpoint your best purpose in the community if you are looking for the right way to give back. The simplest way is by simply visiting their website and signing the personal pledge!
At Purely You Spa, we don’t just offer traditional spa services. While we do specialize in classic treatments, our team is dedicated to all around well-being.
We are happy to be offering couples yoga classes! Our yoga instructor, Laura, specializes in Hatha yoga, Vinyasa flow, relaxation meditation, gentle yoga, and power class. Yoga is a wonderful way to spend time with your loved one in a complete mind and body experience.
All of our classes are customized specifically for your needs. Typically in her 50-minute sessions, Laura reserves the last 10 minutes for relaxing meditation. Laura is committed to making sure each session fulfills your personal goals in a warm, relaxed, and safe environment.
For the month of February, our couple’s yoga classes are offered at $140 (normally $190 value). This makes a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Laura is offering customized classes on Thursday, February 12th at 12pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm. We would love to book your customized class today!
At this time of year, it’s far too easy to get caught-up in decking the halls, planning amazing holiday meals and finding the perfect gift for your loved ones.
Toss in more traffic, last minute projects at work and time with frazzled family and friends and you’ve got a recipe for stress. Keep that going long enough and you’ll be like that over-baked bunch of gingerbread folks I tossed out for the birds to enjoy (burnt out).
While it’s wise to spend time each day reflecting on what this time of year is truly about – friends, family members and other blessings – I also think we need to commit to taking care of ourselves this holiday season.
Yes, this can be a radical concept for some of us who are used to putting our own needs at the bottom of the wish list. But, taking a few moments each day to nourish your body, mind and spirit will allow you to have a more enjoyable holiday. Your good cheer is sure to spread among family, friends and coworkers, as well as help you deal with any of those Grinch-like folks milling about this season.
This doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. Most of us are aware a good diet and a supplement can help. On top of that, the things I’m suggesting may be as simple as joining a friend for shopping and coffee/tea to catch-up (what an amazing gift that would be); reading a bedtime story to your children; enjoying a glass of wine while reading a magazine or book.
Here are some additional stress-less activities to help you enjoy this holiday season :
BREATHE! This seems obvious, but so few of us do this well when we’re stressed. Typically, we chest/shallow breathe. Here, I’m suggesting some deep breathing to really clear the body, mind and spirit. Breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of six and release to a count of eight. Do this a few times and you’ll realize you feel lighter and brighter.
Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Don’t laugh, it’s what experts agree is best. Of course, they probably aren’t living with your dog, snoring spouse or fussy infant. Just do the best you can!
Wake-up 5 to 15 minutes earlier each morning and to the edge off the morning rush. You’ll relax a bit knowing you’ve got those extra moments to enjoy a cup of tea, comb your hair or pack a healthy lunch.
Aim for 8 glasses of water a day, filtered if possible. We often mistake dehydration for hunger so always have a glass of water first. Then, wait a few minutes before enjoying that cutout cookie. Dehydration can also leave you feeling tired and irritable.
Add some greens and high quality protein to your diet. I know that Santa supposedly lives off of cookies, but outside of the North Pole, this just isn’t the best idea. To ensure a healthy immune system and to stave off those energy/mood swings, aim for 4-5 small, balanced meals a day. That way you won’t feel compelled to binge on chocolate truffles, or need more caffeine to get through the afternoon.
Take a nature break. Research has proven that we get a natural lift from being outdoors. So, when you’re feeling stressed, talk a walk. Even five-minutes of time in nature has been proven to boost our immune system and enhance our mood.
Play! Whether or not you have kids, the holidays are a perfect time to express the child inside us all. For some, this can be baking and decorating cookies, for others it may be sledding or a trip to the beach. I enjoy relaxing with a dark chocolate coco to a classic holiday movie!
Enjoy your favorite music. Do this in the car, while cleaning the house, wrapping holiday gifts, and cooking/baking. Music can help soothe even the grinchiest of Grinches. So, turn up the tunes and have some fun (see Play).
Take at least 5 minutes each day to reflect on the true meaning of the holidays. It’s so easy to get caught up in the gift-giving-game that we forget that this is season is truly about sharing time with loved ones. While you may enjoy a great gift, you will treasure all those memory-making moments of laughter and love.
End each day by counting your blessings. What we think about multiples. So, end each day by giving thanks for 5 people, places, events or things that you experienced in the day. As Bing Crosby crooned in the classic movie White Christmas, “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings.”