Tag Archives: longevity lifestyle

Centenarians Walk Their Way Through A Longer Healthy Life

Centenarians Walk Their Way Through A Longer Healthy LifeThe ancient Greek physician Hippocrates may be well-known for his saying, “Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine,” however he also said, “Walking is man’s BEST medicine.” It does not matter where in the world they live, their altitude, climate, or culture, all centenarians we have interviewed walk as a part of their daily routine.

The long-lived people do not have cars, so for the most part they get around by foot, and can often be seen heading out daily to get their food and supplies, socializing with neighbors or family, or going to their gardens. They walk at least thirty minutes as a daily activity and most walked more than an hour.

While in Symi, Greece, an island known for its robust long-lived people, we interviewed Nicolas, who is “more than 97.” When asking him what he attributed his longevity to I remember him slapping his thighs, declaring they were his mode of transportation and proudly sharing that he had never been in a car, on a motorcycle or a scooter. 110 year old Bernando told us he walks two miles daily in the park near his home in Mesa, AZ.

The benefits of walking have been celebrated for centuries, and have even proven equal to vigorous exercise in many cases. Walking helps to substantially reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease, lowers your cholesterol, and blood pressure, and a federal government report called “Stepping Out” notes that walking also reduces the risk of developing age related degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, and helps to maintain normal weight, healthy bones, muscles and joints.

What may contribute most to the anti-aging benefits of walking is the increased production of human growth hormones that counteract the effects of aging. An increase in the natural production of the “youth hormone” means increased muscle mass and strength, decreased fat deposits, more mental alertness, better sexual enjoyment, and elevated moods. Walking strengthens reflexes making the long-lived less prone to debilitating accidents like falling and it increases the production of endorphins which reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, while promoting a sense of well-being, explaining in part why the long-lived people are so happy.

Even in our hectic daily lives, we can find ways to get in a little walking every day by walking 15 minutes in the morning before work, getting off the bus one stop early, taking 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk around the block. Choosing the stairs over the elevator, and when you need to go to the bathroom at work, walk up the stairs to the floor above you and use that bathroom instead.

When you are traveling, walk laps in the airport, skip the moving escalators and walkways, instead opting for the stairs or the long hallway before and after flights. Use the stairs in your hotel and walk to your meetings instead of taking a cab. In the cold, walk in a shopping mall or museum, or perhaps combine your daily walking with an activity like volunteering as a guide.

Take a walk this morning for some fresh air and a clear mind before you head out to face your day and again tonight, after dinner, to unwind and relax after a full day, and begin “Walking your way to A Longer Healthy Life.”

Posted in Longevity Lifestyle Habits | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Okinawan Secrets to Longevity Include Practicing Yuimaaru

Okinawan Secrets to Longevity Include Practicing YuimaaruMichael and I are in Okinawa Japan this month studying the lifestyle and habits of the long-lived people here. Today we are in the village of Ogimi where there are more people living to be over a hundred than anywhere else in the world. The warm and smiling faces of the people here invite us to learn their ways and are open to sharing what has been passed down for many generations, including the practice of Yuimaaru which translates roughly to “warm-hearted and friendly cooperative effort.”

You may see Yuimaaru when a neighbor needs help with repairing his roof, harvesting his crop, or celebrating a special occasion. Many people from the village will come together to help in the effort, “many hands make light work,” but perhaps key to their longevity is it provides a chance for social interaction spending time with others and for friendships to blossom.

Yuimaaru is also apparent when large groups of the long-lived women in Ogimi get together to simply cheer on school children from the village in sporting activities. They are often not related to any of the children in the event, but will come out to support and mentor and spend time with the children of the village.

It is the very act of being a part of something greater than yourself, a mutual aid and reciprocity that gives comfort, joy and peace of mind as we age, especially to those who are living alone. By practicing Yuimaaru, the long-lived Okinawan never feel isolated or alone. This in turn gives them yet another reason to get up every day and celebrate their journey in life.

We can practice Yuimaaru in our daily lives by volunteering our time, helping others in need in a group or club effort, joining a non-profit organization in our own community or in our church. Begin today implementing the habit of Yuimaaru in your daily life, and you will not only add years to your life, you will live A Longer Healthy Life.

Diane Haworth and Michael Varbaek, Longevity Researchers www.ALongerHealthyLife.com

 

 

Posted in Longevity Lifestyle Habits | Tagged , , , , , , , , |