Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: How to Live to be 100+

Dan Buettner trekked the globe to find "Blue Zones," areas in the world where a signifcant portion of its people regularly live astonishingly long, healthy, full lives (often well over 100 years old!).  He discovered 9 common denominators of people in these areas.  He covers these 9 tips for living longer lives in his book, Blue Zones, and in his TED talk.

9 Tips To Living Longer
(From People Who Regularly Live to be Over 100)

1.  Just Move.  None of the world's longest living people exercise!  Well, at least in the way that we think of exercise.  Instead of going to the gym or running on a treadmill, they have lifestyles that encourage them to constantly exercise by moving naturally.  They walk to work, they have stairs in their homes, they garden.

2.  Take Time to Down Shift.  Stress sets off an inflammatory response which is associated with disease.  Having regular routines for just a few minutes a day help people de-stress and actually transforms the stress response from inflammatory to anti-inflammatory.

3.  Have a Sense of Purpose.  Blue Zones have vocabulary that literally translate into "why I wake up in the morning."  Having a clear sense of purpose for your life can add on 7 additional years.

4.  Drink a Little Alcohol Every Day.  This might be my favorite one!  Studies show that moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers.  The key is to have 1 or 2 drinks every night, not 8-10 in one night on the weekend.

5.  Eat a Plant-Based Diet.  This doesn't mean that you have to completely cut out meat altogether, but eat good quality meat, and don't eat a lot of it.  The oldest-living humans eat meals with mainly beans and vegetables.

6.  80% Rule.  "Hara Hachi Bu" is an Okinawan saying that means to stop eating when you are 80% full.  People who live in Blue Zones have strategies to keep from overeating.

7.  Belong.  Most of the people interviewed in his studies belonged to some sort of faith-based community.  Attending some type of faith-based service four times a month can add 4-14 years of additional life expectancy.

8.  Put Your Loved Ones First.  People that live to be over 100 in these studies put their families first.  They take care of their children and their aging parents.

9.  Belong to the Right Tribe.  There is a saying that you are the sum total of the five people that you hang out with the most.  Citizens of Blue Zones were born into or proactively chose circles that supported healthy living.  One of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with the right people.

Here's his TED talk.  Enjoy!


  1. don't see eating cup cakes on this list???:-)

    1. Hahaha - looks like I need to do some personal research on the effects of cupcakes on longevity!