Longevity in life is something we hope for, but without forming healthy habits now, our chances of living well into our triple digits are unlikely. Longevity expert and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner studied the day-to-day lives of those who live in Blue Zones (regions in the world where people live the longest) and discovered that daily movement is the key to living a long and healthy life.
He found that individuals who live in Blue Zones tend to exercise more than the average American, but instead of going to the gym, they intertwine their movements with their everyday lives. According to Buettner, a Blue Zone-inspired workout doesn’t include circuits or routines, but rather it’s about setting up your surroundings in a way that encourages you to move constantly and work your muscles. Here are four strategies that will nudge you toward a Blue Zone-worthy life.
Keep a pair of shoes by your door. This one may seem quite obvious, but the visual reminder of easy-to-wear, comfy walking shoes by your door may encourage you to get out more often.
Make a plan with a friend. It’s easy to bail on plans that you make for yourself, but once you’ve entered a social contract with an exercise buddy, the chances that you ditch the workout are much smaller. Buettner suggests making an attainable exercise commitment with a friend that you will both feel motivated to stick to.
Take walking meetings. Many of us have shifted to remote work, which entails quite a few Zoom calls. Buettner’s advice is to turn off your zoom camera, stick your headphones in, and walk while you’re on a call. You may realize that you’ve been walking for a couple of hours without even thinking about it!
Find what you love, and stick to it. When it comes to sticking to a long-term longevity routine, the most important factor is that you enjoy whatever movement you engage in. Basically, don’t start training for a marathon because you should. Instead, find the type of movement you like doing—it can be hiking, dancing, playing squash, or doing yoga—and you’ll be more inclined to continue that habit for decades.
Those centenarians who live in Blue Zones live lives of constant movement. Perhaps they often find themselves in a garden, or their commute to work includes a long walk on the beach. Your life may not look like theirs, but don’t let that stop you from finding ways to let movement and motion permeate your daily schedule.