In the letters section of Graciemag #261, last year, we offered some tips to readers just starting their tenure in the masters’ age group and who want a longer life on and off the mat. Here’s that advice.
Educator, traveler and author Dan Buettner, who wrote The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest in 2008, mapped the blue zones — regions of the globe from Japan to Costa Rica whose dwellers usually grow old with great health and quality of life — and took note of some of the habits these people have in common.
Buettner’s work contains lessons that can be extremely useful to martial artists. Check some of them out below.
1. One of the places visited by Buettner was Icaria, Greece, known as the island where people forget to die. Its inhabitants, as well as easily making it to 90, have very low levels of dementia and diseases of the heart, brain and bones. As well as a diet that is rich in vegetables and almost devoid of red meat, the islanders like goat milk and practice daily exercise, such as walking.
2. In most blue zones mapped by the writer, there is reduced consumption of cow meat and milk.
3. In Okinawa, Japan, the people eat lots of soy and tofu.
4. In Nicoya, Costa Rica, the author checked out the quality of the water, which is rich in calcium and magnesium. This composition helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.
5. In all the blue zones, citizens drink little and don’t smoke.
6. People and families that prize spending time with friends and neighbors live even longer. Respect meal times, and invite your friends to break bread and share stories.
7. Another lesson from the peoples studied: They mostly use small plates for their meals.
8. Seek to know your body, and stop eating when you are 80% full.
9. If your mind isn’t calm and sated, you will want to eat whatever is put in front of you. Find a purpose in life and follow it with a passion.
10. Even if you love your job, don’t forget your leisure. Go on vacation with your family; after all, traveling feeds your brain.