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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Blue Zones: Senior expo keynote speaker talks about secrets of longevity

  • Nick Buettner, of National Geographic, has been around the world looking for the answer to a question people have been asking since the dawn of time: what is the secret of living a longer, healthier life?
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  • Nick Buettner has been around the world looking for the answer to a question people have been asking since the dawn of time. What is the secret of living a longer, healthier life? While Buettner may not have discovered the fountain of youth, he did find people living in areas he called Blue Zones who have, on the whole, discovered how to live longer, and it has everything to do with wellness. 
    Buettner addressed the “Blue Zones” concept Thursday night at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Redwood Falls as the keynote speaker at the annual senior expo. He and his brother, Dan, in concert with National Geographic, visited five places in the world where the people there are living longer, including locations in Italy, Japan, Costa Rica, California and Greece. In each location Buettner said they talked with the people, those areas with the highest number of centenarians, to find out what kinds of things they were doing consistently that led to their longevity. In Italy, he said the people he met were shepherds, who spend a lot of time walking, and he said that natural kind of exercise, something one doesn’t get in a gym, seems to be a consistent theme among those who are living longer. Another important element, he said, is eating healthy. “That means lots of fruits and vegetables,” Buettner said, adding they have found people who drink the right kinds of wine also tend to live longer. Buettner said the people he met were not vegetarians, but the meat they did eat was in much smaller portions than one would get in the U.S. – and they were consumed less often. Another element they discovered was the importance of making connections with family and friends. In California, he said the group they met was made up of Seventh Day Adventists, and he added those who tend to live the longest have some kind of faith element in their lives. Having the right outlook on life and feeling that sense of purpose, whether it is serving as a grandparent or still working as a heart surgeon at the age of 96, can add years to one’s life, said Buettner. Buettner said he is confident people around the work can take these concepts, regardless of their age, and implement them in their own lives. He said it is all about making healthy choices every day.

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