Man I didn’t do any post last week, sorry! This week I am back and we are going to look at one of the topics of health that really intrigues me: longevity. I think sometimes we are so focused on the the outside. We’re searching for perfect number or for that hard body, but what does it actually mean to be healthy? What’s life if we are not functioning at 100%? If we’re loaded up on medications? If we are constantly at the doctor? If we’re sick or at risk? I’ve always said Alzheimer’s scares me the most. To live this life and create all these experiences, to have people that love you, to not remember it. If we can’t move because of faulty, fragile joints. If we are afraid of disease. If we accept disease as our ultimate surmise. How many people truly die of old age? I remember talking to a client once about the Mediterraneans lack of health disease and the importance of fat. Her only rebuttal was that they were not ‘skinny’. I know many ‘skinny’ people who are not healthy. So how do we satisfy being comfortable in our skin (I think more important than striving for perfection) and living a life of quality? What are the secrets of the longest living people?
I did a post on the Okinawans years ago and it is still one of my favorites. I think we are so focused on building lives and perfect bodies, in using science and technology to make us better, we have disconnected ourselves with our roots. We prefer hitting the gyms and machines, to sowing the land and doing house chores or walking (we jump in our cars). The longest living people aren’t out doing the new fitness trend or running marathons pumping iron. They are merely living their lives. Doing their traditional activities and work. The Okinawans incorporate Tai Chi into their routine. I think the biggest asset to the healthy societies is their mindset. Let’s break it down, let’s look at what they’re doing and compare it to our lifestyles:
- Purpose. The Okinawans call it Ikaigali. They say having a purpose can add 7 more years to your life.
- Destress: They don’t let stress rule their lives. Does this mean they are never challenged or that they don’t struggle. Hell no, but they practice ways to decrease stress: naps pray, and happy hours
- Roll with the Right Tribe: Energies are contagious. Surround yourself with people who have similar healthy lifestyle endeavors. In Okinawa they call it ‘moais‘. Five friends commit to each other for life. How much does that rock? Think about? When you’re around someone inspired or happy, it begins to wear on you to. Create a tribe. Create the energy. Create a moais.
- Family: I don’t know about you but family is one of my biggest priorities. They come first. My brother has twins, kettlebells can wait, I am on my way. He will only have baby’s once. In longevity cultures family comes first. The elder adults live with the family, rather than being sent off to a nursing home. Members commit to a life partner. They invest love and time into their children (they don’t buy it, they earn it and give it)
- 80%. The Okinawan’s practice hara hachi bu. This means that they eat until they are 80% full. Yep they’re not gorging themselves on processed foods and buffet lines.
- Move Naturally: we already discussed this, but these people are outside. Soaking up vitamin D, while they til the land, chop wood and take care of livestock.
- Wine: this is kind of a toss up, but some of the healthiest societies drink in moderation while others don’t. Some drink a glass a day with friends or with a meal. They’re not downing it to escape or in an effort to get ‘wasted’.
I think looking at these societies we can learn a lot. We can think about health maybe in a different life. Not only how do I get to live a long live with friends and family, but how do I make it functional? How do I create a quality life? I think the answer lies in our thoughts. In our thoughts about image. About stress. About what is important.