While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity, according to matadornetwork.com. So traveling is not only about new and fascinating places, but it can also be about improving our life.
Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle.
Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.
Unlike much of the world, where average gender lifespan is different, men and women in Sardinia share equal longevity estimates. In addition, they reach 100 years old at twice the average than the rest of the world. A common saying on this Italian island is a kent’ annos, or “May you live to 100.”
The cuisine consists of raw milk and cheese, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of lamb, pork, and oily fish. Residents are family oriented and very active well into old age. Some research on Sardinian longevity links it to genetics. Few Sardinians marry outsiders and there appears to be a genetic basis for men suffering fewer cases of heart disease and stroke.
Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the logest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability.
There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.
Vilcambamba is often referred to as the “Valley of Longevity” for its remote location and lifespan of residents. Beginning in the 1950s, locals have been studied for their low rates of chronic illness and claims of living to 120. Although researchers debunked some claims as exaggerations, they concede that the activity level and diet of residents does offer them extraordinary health.
Seniors commonly work on ranches, performing manual tasks and riding horses. They eat almost no animal products and rely on fresh organic vegetables with medicinal properties. Their fresh water from nearby mountains has high concentration of healthy minerals.
Although not identified as Blue Zones per se, Macau and San Marino, Italy also rank high on longevity estimates around the world. Macanese live on average to 84,38 years, one of the longest expectancies in the world. Although not studied extensively, features of this unique former Portuguese colony stand out to researchers.
The diet is plant and seafood based, drawing on cuisine traditions of China and Portugal. The city is relatively wealthy, given its status as the newest gambling capitol of the world. Social welfare programs are well funded, giving residents many recreation opportunities. Health care is a priority with dozens of western and Chinese medical centers and a doctor density of 1.5 doctors per thousand people.
Have you been to one of these places? Please tell us all about it, in the comment section below.
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