Are you in your Blue Zone?

April 23, 2009
Photo courtesy of Gianluca Colla for Blue Zones

Photo courtesy of Gianluca Colla for Blue Zones

I’ve been following Dan Buettner and his Blue Zones Expeditions for a few years now, ever since having the opportunity to work with a couple of the Expedition’s corporate sponsors on activation initiatives when the program first started.  If you’re not familiar with Blue Zones, they are five pockets of the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives.  Dan leads a team of the world’s best demographers, physicians, medical researchers and media specialists to study the lifestyle and habits of the Blue Zones centenarians.

Dan currently is in Ikaria, Greece – a 99 square-mile Greek island in the Eastern Aegean Sea.  He recently shared a story on CNN.com of a Greek-American man who returned to the island after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Despite being told he had only months left, he has lived an additional 40 years and when he returned to the US, he learned he even outlived all of his doctors. 

You can follow Dan’s Greek expedition through daily reports at AC360 and at the Blue Zones Web site.  Some of the team’s early findings might surprise you.

“We know that people here have a vastly different character than the rest of the Mediterranean. They have volcanic tempers that quickly subside. Despite living on harsh, steep terrain, they’re known for relentless optimism and three-day parties. They don’t get stressed by deadlines. They go to bed well after midnight, sleep late and take naps. Anecdotally, we know that most people over 90 are sexually active.

Do these people possess the true secret to longevity? We’re not sure yet, but we’ll certainly distill a few clues about living longer, better. Ikarian wisdom may not help you live to 100. But at least they may help you outlive your doctor.”

If you’re intersted in finding ways to add a few good years to your life, check out more on the Blue Zones Expeditions here.  Or, see how well you’re doing on this list of “10 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100″, from Thomas Perls (who also consulted with the Blue Zones team).