Last night, a friend and I were talking about the longest lived person, and when I googled it, to see what the longest verified life span was, I stumbled across a really cool site, The Blue Zones. For the uninitiated:
In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and hired the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better. In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. They found the extra 10 years that we’re missing.
If you go to the website, you will see this has morphed into a book with plans, quizzes and advice on taking the clues we’ve gotten from these blue zones and turning them into action in your own life.
This plays into my belief (hope) that actions speak louder than genes, since I was dealt a bad deck genetically. My obsession with fitness grew out of desires to outlive my short-lived ancestors, and to not spend the last years of my life in ill health. The more I read about fitness, the more I believe much of it is in our control, but that it takes effort and planning to achieve that control. For example, if you adore red meat, you may have to decide which you prefer, a long lifespan or lots of red meat. In other words, there is a cost to pay. In my mind, it is such a small one as to be negligible. However, seeing how people around me live and react, I can see that for many people it is far greater than I imagine. I can’t see how desiring certain foods can outweigh the urge to have a long, healthy life, but it is so. I’ve talked to people who flat out tell me they would rather die young than give up certain foods, or eat others.
In any case, there are like minded people out there, digging deeply into the questions that interest me and, thanks to the internet, I can find out about it and read what they come up with. I’m not saying that everything on that website is true, correlation does not equal causation, but it does seem to agree with other research out there. Check it out, decide for yourself, and share your conclusions with me.