Heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease are pretty much non-existent amongst the Okinawa island’s population of the indigenous Ryukyuan people. A staggering, 34 persons of every 100,000 on the island are centenarians.
Can North Americans learn from this extraordinary situation to live longer and healthier well into our senior years?
For decades, scientists have been studying the lifestyles of the Japanese and Ryukyuan people to see if we can apply some of the same lifestyle principles in our lives to live longer and healthier.
Here are the top 5 factors that allow residents of this tiny island in their 80s, 90s and beyond to enjoy incredible good health and personal independence.
1- Healthy Diet
The Japanese diet is one of the healthiest diets mainly because it is heavy in vegetables, fruit, seafood, and lean meat. This combination provides healthy fats, healthy proteins, variety, and balance. Add on to this that the Okinawa diet focuses on foods that are low in salt, sugar, and fat, and, the result is an extremely healthy population.
2- Lifestyle & Physical Activity
A year-round warm, humid subtropical climate is ideal for growing and harvesting food. The people of Okinawa tend to their own gardens and enjoy great physical health. This constant activity, including coordination and lower body strength, are some of the lesser known health benefits of maintaining your own garden.
These humble lifestyle characteristics along with a culture that supports optimism are attributing factors to a preventative, and healthy aging phenomenon.
3/4- Sharp Minds & Social Ties
Social activities and personal interactions keep the mind active. The elders in the Okinawa surround themselves by loved ones and regularly socialize within their community, engaging in song, art, and dance.
These social and active lifestyle elements are key to living longer and happier lives on the Okinawa island.
5- Calmness and Purpose
Living peacefully in loving relationships and by nature’s side add essential ingredients of longevity to life. Being outdoors, planting, climbing, walking, or running are ways people on the Okinawa island stay connected and live life with a greater sense of purpose.
Based on gerontologic studies of the extraordinarily long-living people in the Okinawa region of Japan, Home Care Assistance created The Balanced Care Method™, with the goal to change the way the world ages.
Healthy diet, lifestyle and physical activity, sharp minds and social ties, calmness and purpose are the most important lifestyle factors to live longer and healthier lives.
By 2050, there will be more than one million people over the age of 100 in Japan. We know we can learn from the Japanese and Okinawa lifestyles and philosophies. We can improve how we age in North America. It’s up to us to make the changes we need to live the life we want.
Visit www.changingthewaytheworldages.com to learn about senior lifestyle tips, cutting-edge research, and education around successful aging. You can also call us at Home Care Assistance Vancouver (778) 279-3634 for information about your specific aging and senior care questions.