I think, when I’m 100 years old, the world would have changed so much that it become unrecognizable and different from what I used to be. Not to mention the illness and disability
But, what if one can live over 100 years and free from disability? Dan Buettner share his study with National Geographic about The Blue Zones in the TED Talks below. What is The Blue Zones? According to Dan Buettner, it is places where the number of people that reach the age of 100 and over are 10 times greater than in United States.
It is not being 100 years old that is interesting, but the disability-free, free of cancer, diabetes and coronary disease that caught my attention. Dan put out slides and video, where 100 years old man still ride his horse. Another centenarian, a word for those who are over 100 years old, can beat someone 60 years younger in armwrestling. And, what do you think of a 97 years old doing open heart surgery?
Although I don’t expect to reach 100 years age, I do expect to live to see my son grow up. But, simply living is not good enough. It also has to be disability-free and with high level of energy. What good it does if I live long, but unable to get out of bed, or keep forgetting things, or in severe pain?
In fact, I still aim to run marathon as I grow old. I still want to run marathon in my 50s, 60s, or even 70s, if I live long enough.
And, in Dan Buettner and National Geographic studies, there are another surprising facts. It is not the advance in medication that helps people to live 100 years and disability-free. These Blue Zones approach prevention instead of prescribe. It is also not regular exercise, nor strict diet that make them live longer and disability-free.
In minutes 15 into the talk, Dan outlines the common things found in The Blue Zones. Here are the common things, and what I think about it.
- Be physically active. And what it means by active here is not doing regular exercise, but set your day so that you can be physically active all day. If you are corporate worker like me, walk instead of sending email to you colleague. Walk out during lunch instead of asking the office boy to buy your lunch. Use stairs if you are going 2-3 floors, instead of elevator. And if you are keen, bike or even run to work instead of driving.
- Have a sense of purpose. I’ve seen people get sicker once they retire, simply because they lose their sense of purpose. Do charity, run a small non-profit organization, write, or anything else that give you sense of purpose.
- Shut down regularly. The world demand more attention from us everyday, especially with the smart phone that keep buzzing for attention. Turn off notifications from your phone. Take some time every day to shutdown and reflect. My favorite time is 4:30 in the morning, just before dawn.
- Eat well. It means, eat variety of food closest to its natural state. Eat enough, not too much, not too little. Even alcohol, drink enough wine. Not too much, not too little.
- Have Faith. Lets face it, you can’t control everything, or change everything. Those you can’t change or control, you need to accept it, and trust that everything will be OK.
- Family first. That means, call your parents. Take care of them. If you have spouse and kids, spend time with them. Give them priority. Love them.
- Right community. It means, create a close community that support each other. Pick friends that can support you with the other things above.
No, you can’t stop aging or death. But if you can live disability-free, I think you will have a life worth living for.