Wow, Talk about Being “In the Zone”!
I was inspired to write this column after a radio show I conducted with Janine Mori, an expert on longevity. Longevity is a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Everyone wants to live a long, full, happy life, yet the longer we live, the more money we need. Plus, longevity and health care costs are intrinsically linked; there can be substantial long-term costs to not being healthy. All that being said, centenarians are now a rapidly growing segment of the population.
Shift Out of Neutral. What I found particularly interesting about my conversation with Janine, was her belief (and the belief of many) that a shift toward lifestyle management (including cultural and environmental changes) can make a significant difference in how long we live. Janine enlightened me to the “Blue Zones,” which are areas in the world where people live much longer and have much lower incidences of disease. My wife and I are health and exercise enthusiasts, so I found this information fascinating. I even did a little extra research to bring you some additional statistics on the subject.
Buy Me a Ticket on an Airplane. So, where are these “Blue Zones”? Five areas have been identified by Dan Buettner (author: The Blue Zones). They include: 1. Sardinia, Italy; 2. the islands of Okinawa, Japan; 3. the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; 4. Icaria, Greece (a 2009 study showed that 1 out of 3 people in Ikaria live into their 90s! Not only that, but Ikarians have a 20% lower risk of cancer, 50% lower risk of heart disease and almost no dementia). And last but not least, a longevity hot spot right here in the United States ... Loma Linda, California (specifically, a group of Seventh-day Adventists)!
Why Them? According to Mr. Buettner, several factors are common in the lifestyles of those who live longer lives. Some include: A plant-based diet; moderate calorie intake; regular physical activity; moderate alcohol intake; stress reduction; life purpose; and spiritual, family and social life engagement.
If you read the newspaper on a daily basis like I do, you’ve noticed that even in our local community, more people are living into their 90s and beyond. That’s why the financial plans I build always take longevity into account (we plan for 100!). So be happy; be healthy; and enjoy life to the fullest – but make sure you have a plan in place for those hopeful “extra” years!