People focus on the food part of the Blue Zone concept and forget much of the rest. As a recap, the other points are a lifestyle of movement, connected to family, connected to community, connected to church, low stress, and life purpose (no retiring.) Let’s look at movement.
In America, we have studies showing the value of exercise. The mayo clinic recommends 30 min a day but states even more benefit at about 45 min per day. These studies indicate that the 30-45 min exercise time is all you need. The rest of the day can be spent sitting at the job, sitting watching the idiot box, playing computer games, or sitting writing posts for your blog site.
That is the problem with scientific studies run in isolation. If a scientist decides to run a test comparing 0, 15 min, 30 min, and 1 hour exercise, he gets results that we read, but he hasn’t run tests for 3, 6, 9 hours a day of exercise. The blue zone studies people in their normal daily life. We see people living to 100 and look at what they do different. These people move all day, naturally. This means they are getting some sort of exercise for around 9+ hours a day. How big of an affect does this have, if any? We don’t know.
Finally, now, studies are coming out that confirm that sitting 9 hours a day is much more unhealthy than sitting just three. Also, getting up and moving for five minutes every 30 min or one hour is much healthier than sitting regularly for more that 90 min at a time. This vindicates the Blue Zone conclusion that moving all day, naturally, is great for you, independent of the health benefit of intense exercise.
It is one thing to set aside 30-60 min a day for exercise, which many people do. How do we set aside 9 hours a day? This is an especially important question as we get older and more sedentary. One answer is to never retire until health forces you to. If you have a part time job that requires you to walk the whole time, you are on your way. See https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/health/sitting-increases-risk-of-death-study/index.html
Another way is to look at your day. What do you do, and how do you do it. For example, do you sit and drive to the nearby grocery store, and then spend the time you saved sitting watching TV? Could you walk or ride a bike to the store? Of course, you could not buy and carry as much, so you would have to go more often, a win, win. What about mowing lawns? Do you pay someone to mow it? Do you have a riding mower? Could you change it for something needing pushing, or at least walking behind? If you have too much lawn, dig some up and start gardening more.
What can you do about the TV? I cut the cable, but have a streaming service and an antenna. Suddenly I don’t find as much that I want to watch. I love football, so what can I do? I find that I like to make homemade crafts for birthdays, Christmas, etc. I can set up a TV where I do my crafts and keep an eye on the football games without being tempted to sit all weekend.
When it comes to eating, these diets encourage you to not buy prepared foods, but make them. We buy those prepared foods to save time, why? So we can sit in front of the computer or TV more. Thus a win-win is to spend more time preparing food. There are many more ways that you can change your lifestyle and cause yourself to move more naturally. What can you think of?
You may object, this is not exercise. No, and you should have the intense exercise for its completely different benefits. This is just getting the benefits of constantly moving naturally by small changes in your lifestyle. The Blue Zone studies indicate the benefit, and now scientific studies confirm that not sitting has great health benefits. Now, I gotta end this post and get up and move.
Here is a simple lunch recipe. I throw all the ingredients in my lunchbox and make and eat two wraps during my half hour lunchbox
1 whole wheat tortilla
meat or beans (tuna, salmon, sardines, trukey, chicken, or canned beans of your choice
berries or grapes
low cal dressing
sprinkle of nuts
So much tastier than a baloney sandwich.