• Deanne Pandey

Adopt these Blue Zone inspired workout tips

The concept of Blue zones is probably the most underrated one. Many of us have not even heard of this term before. So what exactly are these blue zones? Around 2004, few explorers discovered five regions in the world, where people had the least health related diseases and lived the longest. These are called the ‘Blue Zones.’ Blue Zone regions are Ikaria, an island in Greece; Okinawa, an island in Japan; the Barbagia region of Sardinia (Italy); Loma Linda, a small city in California, and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica These “Blue Zone” regions are incredible because the people there live not only longer, but better. Inhabitants of these communities lived happier, healthier and longer lives—up to 100 years old—longer than the rest of the world. One of the key factors was that their environment i.e. physical items, architecture, terrain etc. helps them to make healthy decisions without thinking too much. More so, their way of life appeals to a different kind of workout. Whatever form of movement they do, they rarely sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. Fitness the Blue Zone way is not formal. Rather it becomes part of the fabric of our lives, we simply move more, incorporating it into the way we live. This means different strokes for different kinds of people. For an instance, there are Okinawans who dance daily, Seventh Day Adventists who love to walk, Sardinians who herd their sheep up and down hills on foot, Ikarians who tend to their gardens and Costa Ricans who cycle everywhere. So while we may not have a flock of sheep to herd up a hill, we can all leave our cars at home more often and walk, cycle, carry groceries or take the stairs, as well as put our backs into house chores and our gardens.

Clearly it does not sound as appealing and promising as an intense cardio circuit at the gym, but the results are right in front of us. More so, this approach to fitness becomes even more necessary to inculcate now, when there is not much getting out of the house or going to the gym, let alone the load of work stress. Balancing what we take in in energy with how much energy we expend can help us control our weight. Small movements throughout the day add up, and the cumulative effect is an increased metabolic rate. Building a daily routine that incorporates brief sporadic bouts of high-relative-intensity incidental physical activity has numerous practical and health advantages. Adding a total of about two and a half hours of standing and light walking around the house or office should do it. Another tip is to stand up five minutes for every thirty minutes you sit. It shouldn’t take much for you to start realizing the benefits without the need for rigid training programs.

Along with regular movement, the commonalities of the Blue Zone communities include a plant-based diet, the 80 per cent rule, i.e eat only until you’re 80 per cent full, strategies to de-stress-some pray, some take naps, some do happy hour, a sense of purpose and connection and prioritising family and close relationships. Each of these lifestyle factors has been shown to be associated with a longer life. Studies show that incorporation of these principles helps you live a healthier, longer and a happier life. Blue Zones regions are home to the healthiest and the oldest living people. The Blue Zone lifestyle has been proven to be perfectly balanced and helpful. Try out this technique to reach your fitness goals!

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