Author(s): Dan Buettner
A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. So what's the formula for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has lead teams of researchers across the globe to uncover the secrets of Blue Zones - geographic regions where high percentages of centenarians are enjoying remarkably long, full lives. Region by region, Buettner reveals the secrets of the Blue Zones through stories of his travels and interviews with some of the most remarkable and happily long-lived people on the planet. Meet a 94-year-old farmer and self-confessed 'ladies man' in Costa Rica, an 88-year old yoga devotee and decathalete in Okinawa, and a 107 year-old Sardinian who still climbs trees to harvest nuts for her family's Sunday meal, to name a few. By observing daily life in these communities, and conducting in-depth lifestyle research, Buettner's teams have identified the everyday behaviors and choices that correspond with the cutting edge of longevity research. In Sardinia for example, family comes first, a fact of life celebrated with big dinners that include red wine and simple, home-cooked foods. In Okinawa Japan, gardening and yoga are two popular activities, and life is governed by the principle of ikigai, which means having a purpose. In Loma Linda, California, Seventh Day Adventists attribute longevity to strong faith, family, and dietary restrictions that limit food consumption and promote a healthy, low-fat diet. By distilling the key longevity behaviors from these wildly diverse populations, Buettner has derived recommendations for healthy lifestyle choices that anyone can make to create their own 'Blue Zone' and promote long life. Buettner's inspiring examples of well-lived lives and easy to apply best practices from his studies empower readers to live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. This massive research effort, funded in part by the National Institute on Aging, has taken Buettner from Costa Rica to Sardinia, Italy, to Okinawa Japan and beyond. Encoded in the world's longevity cultures are millennia of observed human experience. It's not coincidence that the way these people eat, interact with each other, shed stress, heal themselves, avoid disease, and view their world yields them more good years of life. To learn from them, we need only to be open and ready to listen.
National Geographic explorer and writer Dan Buettner is the founder of Quest Network, Inc, and has produced more than a dozen interactive expeditions. Buettner has biked more than 120,000 miles around the globe, and holds three Guinness World Records in long distance cycling. His 2005 cover story for National Geographic Magazine, Secrets of Living Longer was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He has appeared on CNN, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and the Today Show to discuss his Blue Zone research and has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches over the last 10 years.