We have the recipe for a longer life

What are you doing to live a longer life? It’s easy to do.

There are simple things you can do every day to set yourself up to live life to the fullest and achieve the longest life possible. At the Health Care Summit on June 16 (register here!), Tony Buettner from the Blue Zones Project will be joining us to discuss what we can do as a community, and individually, to improve our health and lower health care costs.

To get you thinking about how daily activities can impact your life-span, we’ve put the Blue Zones Power 9 principles in action. The Power 9 tips for longevity make it easy to make positive behavioral changes. You can make your home and work place your own personal Blue Zone.

Join us at the Health Care Summit on June 16.

This is just the beginning of the chance for a longer life. At the Health Care Summit, you’ll join community members and local leaders to discuss how West Michigan can add years to your life. Blue Zones Project expert Tony Buettner will share the Secrets to a Longer Life. Don’t miss it.

Register today!

The first things you should do is pause for three minutes and take the vitality test found here. The test will show you how many years you can add to your life by adopting the simple changes outlined in your personalized improvement plan. Once you have your plan, look at the Power 9 list. Which three can you implement today? Start small and pick the easiest ones. To make them a habit, wait 12 weeks before adding the next three.

Longevity: The Power 9

The Power Nine covers the following life domains: What to do to optimize your lifestyle for a longer, healthier life; how to think; how to eat; and how to build social relationships that support your good habits.

  • Move Naturally: You don’t have to exercise in a gym to see results. By working natural exercise into your daily routine, you’ll receive the benefit without the hassle. Park on a higher floor, ditch your riding lawn mower, and hide your TV remote.
  • Purpose: Do you know your purpose? You should. Being cognizant of your purpose adds 7 years to your life. Get started by creating a personal mission statement. Why do you get up in the morning? What is truly important to you?
  • Down Shift: Stress is a killer. Force yourself to take mental and physical breaks. Use this time to meet with friends, family, or to spend time alone. Find what helps you relieve stress and anxiety and allow yourself to take a break.
  • 80% Rule: Feel full? Stop eating! When you feel 80% full, push the plate away. Eating the extra 20% could be the difference between losing and gaining weight.
  • Plant Slant: They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In truth, a plant-based diet adds years to your life. Fill up on soy products, olive oil, and vegetables. We aren’t saying go full veggie, but limit your intake of meat to 3-4 ounces five times a month.
  • Wine @ 5: You read that right. 1-2 glasses of wine with friends and food will do your body and mind good.
  • Belong: Attending faith-based services four times a month will add 4-14 years to your life. Not religious? Find a non-denominational community. Sharing common ideals, feeling togetherness, and even the act of singing hymns will enhance your physical and mental being.
  • Loved Ones First: Where does your family fall on your priorities list? What about your grandparents? Investing in your loved ones, young and old, will add years to their life and yours.
  • Right Tribe: We live longer with a little help from our friends. Healthy behavior is contagious. Long-lived people choose friends or were born into circles that impact their behavior in a positive way.

To make it easy, we’ve created a recipe for the perfect blue zone day.

6 a.m. Wake up and remember your purpose. Really! Think about what you’ll do today to feed your purpose. Make your breakfast. This should be the biggest meal of the day. You’ll need that energy. Hand grind your coffee for a little exercise. Hold the bacon.

7 a.m. Get you and your family out the door. Walk or ride your bike to work. If you are driving, park on a higher level or at the back of the parking lot. Don’t forget to hydrate!

8 a.m. Look at your work load. Build in time to rest and destress throughout the day. This should be the first time you look at your cell phone for the day.

10 a.m. Take a five minute break. Get outside and soak up some sun. Have a handful of nuts. Drink a large glass of water.

12 p.m. Grab your co-workers and eat a small plant-based meal. Include a dash of olive oil and soy for protein. Relax and take your time. Stop eating when you’re 80% full. Take a ten minute walk after you’ve eaten.

1 p.m. Once back at your desk, reassess your work load.

3 p.m. Make a cup of herbal tea and call a relative. Make plans to see them in the upcoming week.

5 p.m. Meet your friends for happy hour. Have a glass (or 2) of wine and connect with your group. Unplug. Do. Not. Look. At. Your. Cell. Phone. Seriously, don’t.

6 p.m. Time to go home. Don’t let traffic get you down. Here are some tips. Think about what you did today to serve your purpose. Enjoy a plant-based meal with your family. Encourage conversation and connection at the dinner table.

7 p.m. Take an after dinner walk or bike ride with your family. Cement healthy behaviors and make exercise accessible and fun. When you get home, put that cell phone away for the night.

8 p.m. Meditate. Whether you do yoga, stretching, or simply sitting without noise, take time to listen to your inner monologue. How do you feel? How did the day go? What can you try tomorrow to improve?

9 p.m. Start your bedtime routine. No cell phone. No TV. No blue lights shinning on your face in the dark. Make your plant-based lunch for the next day. Quiet your mind and prepare to sleep. Think about your purpose.

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