Saturday, May 5

Japanese centenarians help longevity study

Dan Buettner, discovering the secrets of longevity. photo

Diets only work on two percent of any population.
Exercise routines are usually given up within 10 months.

If you're trying to live healthier, these quick fixes probably aren't working for you. Or at least that's what this guy is telling us.

To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. At TED, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.

Buettner studied groups in Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), as well a community in Costa Rica and Seventh-Day Adventists in California for their extraordinarily high rate of centenarians.

In Okinawa, Buettner has found that, aside from eating healthy and meshing exercise into your everyday life, the natives don't have a word for "retire". (The two years you are most susceptible to death are your first year, and your retirement.)

Instead, the Okinawan people have the word 生き甲斐, or ikigai, which roughly translates to one's reason for living, or as Buettner puts it, "the reason you wake up in the morning". When Buettner asked these Okinawan's what their ikigai was, they each could spout it instantly.

It kinda reminds me of that scene in Fight Club:

Guys, What Do You Wish You'd Done Before You Die?

It makes sense, though, that having your life goal(s) figured out would definitely add a couple years to your life. Now, what do I want to be when I grow up?

Suprisingly, "community" is among the top factors. Buettner says, "We know that isolation kills. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends. We’re down to one and half right now."


  1. What personally resounded with me was the fact of "natural" exercise contributed to extending life. Extremely interesting and informative.

  2. I can see how that makes sense, Marianne. Many of us strive to make it to the gym early in the morning or fall out of our "healthy" diet plans. If exercise was incorporated into my daily life, it would be much easier.

  3. Give it a try, get out and rake, sweep, garden, walk... whatever.

    1. I'm wondering if while letting some people live longer, this also weeds out those with heart problems and the like. That would be the US problem if we ever tried a nation-wide adoption of this lifestyle.


You should probably engage in some conversation.