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Wendy Shafranski


October 26, 2023

What Can We Learn From Blue Zones?

Have you watched Live to 100: Secrets of Blue Zones on Netflix?

If not, it’s an interesting docuseries that visits certain areas of the world where people live significantly longer than average…we are talking 100 years plus!

The centenarians interviewed were all happy and enjoyed quality of life at their advanced ages. The series showed the aspects of each culture and geographic region that seem to contribute to longevity.

From what I gleaned, these aspects can be group into the following theme, no matter where the blue zone was located.

Sense of Purpose

Okinawans call it ikigai or “reason for being.” Costa Ricans call it “plan de vida.” We call it life's purpose. At 100 years old-plus, these people had a reason for getting up every day. One man, at 100 years old, rode his horse each morning and rounded up cattle!


Residents in blue zones are active without even thinking about it. They walk substantial distances, climb stairs, carry things, squat down, etc. (sounds like functional movements!)


Social engagement and connection was huge. It could be family, lifelong friends or faith-based, but all these people had a support system and lacked loneliness.


In this documentary, no one ate processed foods and they all know where their food comes from. They ate lots of plants and they didn’t overeat. Okinawans in particular eat mindfully and stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.

Now, granted, life seemed much simpler in these areas. For the most part, the centenarians weren’t located in large bustling cities, they weren’t up on the latest technological gadgets, they didn't have cuthroat careers, life was slower.

But, I think we can learn lessons from the Blue Zones that can be applied to wherever we live. Those lessons are:

  • Find something bigger than yourself to commit to.
  • Move regularly.
  • Engage socially.
  • Eat well and mindfully.

If you've got some extra time on your hands, I'd recommend Live to 100: Secrets of Blue Zones. You might just be inspired.

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