7 life secrets of the oldest people in the world
The people from Okinawa, an island southwest of Japan, have once again exceeded the average life expectancy in 2016. They’re the longest living human beings, with life span exceeding 100 years of age. With a life expectancy that exceeds the hundreds, one may ask, what do they do to live such a long life? Not only do they live such a long life, but they also live a very fulfilling one full of vitality, movement and happiness. The key is not only to live long but also to have quality of life.
We have a lot to learn from the Okinawan as they seem to have it all figured out as to what a healthy lifestyle consists of, balancing physical, mental and emotional health.
So, what do they do to live such a long and plentiful life?
Hara Hachi Bu- ‘The art of not overeating´
If there is something that we do wrong in our society is eating way too much. We tend to eat more than our body needs and when we approach a meal, we eat in order to feel full. However, the Okinawans have a completely different philosophy towards eating. They eat until they are 80% full to avoid overeating and have a more conscious approach towards what their body needs. A more western approach to this would be ‘Mindful Eating’. It’s a great way to be connected to our body and give it what it needs to work optimally.
Their diet is mainly plant-based
Most of the time, they follow a plant-based diet rich in colourful vegetables, legumes (mainly soy), rice and consume fish in small quantities. They consume very few fats and sugar, and meat and dairy are consumed very rarely. One of the foods they eat frequently as a rice substitute is sweet potato, and similar derivatives. Yellow and orange vegetables like sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids and vitamin A. These two combat inflammation, increase growth and development, strengthen the immune system and fight premature aging.
Exercise is a part of their lifestyle
Exercising is a fundamental part of their daily routine. In fact, it is almost a cultural aspect as they practice sports outdoors and in groups. They take advantage of public spaces to do communal classes that are open to everyone. They thoroughly enjoy exercising and see it as a social activity. The best part is that age is not an impeding factor. It’s very common to see elderly over 90 years practicing sports regularly. If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
They have a positive outlook to life
They’re positive minded and don’t give up. They’re hard working and optimistic and always look at the positive side of things. Adopting a positive attitude in life makes us happier in the long run and gives us a sense of contentment with life.
They’re very social
The Okinawans give priority to spending time with their family and loved ones. Whilst we tend to think that exercise and nutrition are the most important factors to be healthy, having a social life is also fundamental. Spending time with our loved ones, aside from the joy it brings us, makes us feel safe, loved and gives us a sense of belonging. It’s important to spend quality time with our loved ones as it brings us happiness, and happiness influences our wellbeing.
They spend time outdoors
Okinawa is a beautiful island known for its rich nature. The Okinawans take advantage of their surrounding to practice sports outdoors, go on walks, garden and enjoy the beach. Being in contact with nature is important to disconnect, breathe fresh air, inhale the minerals from the seawater and absorb the vitamin D from the sun.
They have a life purpose
Everyday, the Okinawans have a purpose to get out of bed, also known as ‘ikigai’. Having a purpose in life gives us the drive to approach each day with optimism and motivation. Therefore, find an ‘ikigai’ in your life that makes you wake up with a purpose everyday just like the Okinawans do.
As we can see, these keys to living a healthier and longer life are actually very easy to include in our life. We can all eat healthily, exercise, spend time with loves one, adopt a healthy attitude towards life and spend time outdoors if we really want to. It’s about making it into a lifestyle. There’s no question that we could learn a lesson or two from the Okinawans and should aim to adopt their lifestyle method to live longer and better.