Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Living long and well

Most of us want to live long lives provided that we live well. There are a few communities around the world which stand out because many people live healthy active lives well into their 90’s and beyond.

A team of researchers decided to study these communities. They found that their longevity was not due to advances in medical science, pills, hip and knee replacements, or hired help. In fact, the secret to long life lays in the simple things in life.

Older Can Can Dancers photo

These communities – called Blue Zones – have nine characteristics in common. These nine characteristics can be grouped into four main clusters:

  • active living;
  • a good outlook;
  • healthy eating; and
  • social connection.

(You can view the TED talk about Blue Zones below.)

In all communities, physical activity is part of daily living. Some 90-year-olds are still working in physically demanding jobs; others tend gardens; just about everybody walks a lot – alone, in pairs, in groups.

Those who live long and well also live with purpose and meaning. Life continues to hold their attention, and they make contributions to the well-being of their families and communities.

As active and engaged as they are, they still make time to slow down, relax, meditate.

They eat wisely – not too much, mostly plants, and often with a glass of wine.

Most belong to a faith community, though not the same one.

All put family first – many live in multi-generational homes or communities.

And all keep company with people who share and support their health-promoting lifestyle.

These communities inspire hope – they are proof that living long and living well is within our reach.  

Learn more