Successful Aging with Blue Zones Lifestyle Traits: Part Two


In previous blogs concerning successful aging, we’ve introduced you to the Blue Zones: regions of the world where people live significantly longer. We began by telling you about the first 5 of the lifestyle traits shared by residents of Barbagia; Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Okinawa, Japan. To recap, the first 5 of the 9 lifestyle traits people in these areas share are:

  1. Move Naturally
  2. Living with Purpose
  3. Down-Shift and De-Stress
  4. “Hara Hachi Bu”
  5. Plant Slant

The Blues Zone Lifestyle Traits for Successful Aging: #6 Through #9

6. Wine with Friends

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” He must have been on to something. Except for the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, Blue Zones residents drink alcohol regularly in moderation. Research shows those who do so outlive their peers who don’t drink. Sardinian Cannonau, a red wine made on the island of Sardinia, Italy, is the type of alcohol cited by Blue Zone researchers most often.

According to the Wine Buying Guide, Cannonau is rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that benefit the heart and brain. But unlike traditional red wine, this Italian favorite has up to three times the antioxidants and a large dose of resveratrol, which the Mayo Clinic says may help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevent blood clots. The key, of course, is moderation.


Blue Zones Guide


7. Faith-Based Belonging

Another successful aging behavior Blue Zones residents share is they belong to a faith-based community of some kind. Those who attend a service four times per month add four to fourteen years to their life expectancy.

Some researchers have attributed this aspect of successful aging to a sense of meaning and purpose in life, while others note how following a faith is taking actions that are in line with your belief. Another factor could be the many opportunities for healthy socializing that come with attending religious services. Or, it could just be that participating in faith-based activities lifts a person’s mood and can help with dealing with a loss or illness.

8. Loved Ones First

People in the Blue Zones put their families first. They spend time together. Younger generations are actively involved in caring for parents, grandparents, and other senior members of the family. And it’s a smart thing to do: maintaining close ties with family can add up to six years to your life expectancy.

And you don’t have to be spending time with blood relatives to get this benefit. Your family is how you define it: close friends; a cherished neighbor. Even in today’s busy world, it’s important to find time to be with those you love the most. Maybe it’s a weekly lunch. Walking around the park. A regular online chat. Keeping each other close and caring for one another benefits everyone’s health and happiness.

9. Connect with the Right Tribe

Good friends can pick you up when you are feeling blue, and vice versa. Sometimes just a simple phone call, email, or text from a friend can change the day. Residents of the Blue Zones know all about it. For them, successful aging means building a close circle of friends that share their commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, such as eating just until they are no longer hungry, staying active, and having a purpose. Being around people with these goals is inspiring and motivating.

Okinawa is a Blue Zone. Okinawans maintain strong social connections by regularly spending time with their moais—groups of lifelong friends. The benefit is knowing someone will always be there, especially in times of need. It’s a proven fact. When your friends have healthy habits, you tend to have healthy habits. And when you know you have the support of good friends, you have one of the keys to successful aging.

Blue Zones—and Successful Aging—in Senior Living

When you review the lifestyle traits that residents of Blue Zones have in common, it reads like description of a modern senior living community: be as active and engaged as you can. Use your wisdom and talents to find a new purpose. Renew, relax and escape stress. Eat only what you need and follow a healthy diet with a glass of wine now and then. Keep family close; find the right tribe and inspire one another.

At Senior Star, successful aging is the core of everything we do. We are committed to wellness of mind, body and spirit. Our programs are designed to peak individual interests, inspire a sense of purpose, and engage holistic health and well-being. We invite you to join us on the journey to successful aging!

Do For Each Other With Love—Our Promise at Senior Star. We do everything we can to make a positive difference in the life of our residents. Download Guide to Aging Well: Secrets to Successful Aging from “Blue Zones” Around The World. Questions about senior living?  Contact us to learn more. 


Blue Zones Guide