Last Updated: February 11, 2024

In recent years, a new phenomenon has taken society by storm: Blue Zones. 

The term “Blue Zones” refers to parts of the world where people live the longest. 

With newfound popularity, Blue Zones may seem like another buzzword. However, Blue Zones can teach us about the common habits and lifestyle factors of people who live long lives and empower us to make positive changes in our lives to improve our longevity.

What are Blue Zones?

older women walking outside

Okinawa, Japan
Credit: National Geographic

Blue Zones are areas of the world where the life expectancy is the longest. The concept of Blue Zones was popularized by New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner, as published in his book The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer

Buettner’s research identified five Blue Zones around the world:

  • Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy: This mountainous region has the highest concentration of male centenarians, or people who have reached 100 years of age.
  • Ikaria, Greece: This island has one of the world’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.
  • Lomo Linda, California: The only place in the U.S. to make the list of Blue Zones. This region is home to a high concentration of Seventh Day Adventists, a religious group whose life expectancy is an average of 10 years longer than that of other North Americans.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: This area has one of the lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the second-highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Okinawa, Japan: Women here over the age of 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

The Power 9 of Blue Zones

Buettner identified nine lifestyle factors found in all of these Blue Zones that he believes cause people to live longer lives. He deemed these patterns as “The Power 9,” which are as follows:

  1. Move naturally: Live a lifestyle that, by nature, encourages movement. 
  2. Purpose: Have a life purpose, or a reason to get out of bed every day.
  3. Downshift: Have a routine that reduces stress.
  4. 80% rule: Stop eating when you are 80% full, and eat your smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening.
  5. Plant slant: Eat a primarily plant-based diet.
  6. Wine @ 5: Drink 1-2 glasses of wine per day with friends and/or food. 
  7. Belong: Be a part of a faith-based community.
  8. Loved ones first: Always put family members first, including aging parents, partners, and children.
  9. Right tribe: Be a part of a social circle that supports healthy lifestyle behaviors. 

The Power 9 in Senior Living

older women friends min

older women friends min

The Power 9 lifestyle of Blue Zones is inspiring. But are the Blue Zone components attainable for older adults living in senior living communities?

The answer is yes. Anyone can incorporate habits inspired by The Power 9 into their life.

Florida independent living and assisted living communities can make following these habits easy. Learn how below.

  1. Move naturally: Live a lifestyle that, by nature, encourages movement. 

    • Most senior living communities have fitness centers and regular exercise classes seniors can participate in – which is always a great decision. However, beyond that, living in a community naturally requires seniors to move around during the day. Walking to meals, taking a stroll in the courtyard, participating in an art class, taking care of the garden – all of these activities require seniors to move around; not to mention walk to and from their destinations. Living in Florida is an added bonus, as the beautiful, sunny weather year-round allows seniors to more easily exercise.
  1. Purpose: Have a life purpose, or a reason to get out of bed every day.

    • One of the main goals of a senior living community should be to help residents achieve an involved, active lifestyle. This can be accomplished through volunteer opportunities, educational classes, social groups, book clubs, gardening, pet therapy, enjoyable events, and more. All of these activities give seniors a sense of purpose and something to look forward to in daily life, which, according to Buettner, could add up to seven years onto your life.
  1. Downshift: Have a routine that reduces stress.

    • Stress is universal and unavoidable – even in Blue Zones! But, the difference is how you plan to manage this stress in your everyday life. One major stressor for many older adults is having to maintain their home, keep up with chores, go grocery shopping, cook three meals a day, clean, do laundry, and complete all the other tasks involved with owning a home. In senior living communities, these responsibilities are immediately taken away. Seniors no longer need to stress about housekeeping, laundry services, maintenance, landscaping, and cooking, as these services are all included. At assisted living communities, seniors can live a maintenance- and stress-free lifestyle without the burden of taking care of a home.
  1. 80% rule: Stop eating when you are 80% full.

    • One of the best parts of senior living is the chef-prepared meals available. Because you know there will always be a meal ready for you, you can more easily follow the 80% rule. People living in Blue Zones follow this rule to avoid overeating and eat fewer calories, making maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight easier.
  1. Plant slant: Eat a primarily plant-based diet with a focus on beans.

    • Another benefit of senior living is that the chefs will follow whatever healthy diet you require, including plant-based diets like people in Blue Zones eat. Other common diets chefs follow in senior living communities include vegetarian, kosher, low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat, and more. No matter your dietary restrictions, there are always nutritious, healthy choices available to you.

two senior men drinking wine and laughing

  1. Wine @ 5: Drink 1-2 glasses of wine per day with friends and/or food. 

    • Happy hours, wine tastings, and other events are regular occurrences in many senior living communities, just like in Blue Zones. These gatherings allow you to socialize with friends and make connections while enjoying moderate wine consumption.
  1. Belong: Be a part of some sort of faith-based community.

    • Regular religious services are a staple in most assisted living and independent living communities. Seniors can be part of a faith-based group and participate in regular services with ease, allowing them to feel part of something bigger than themselves. Most people in Blue Zones are part of a faith-based community, leading them to feel a sense of belonging, hope, and faith. These are important feelings to maintain in senior living.
  1. Loved ones first: Always put family members first, including aging parents, partners, and children.

    • Family is an extremely important tenet at senior living communities. Regular activities are offered to involve family members, from dinners and parties to events and special activities that bring generations together.

       9. Right tribe: Be part of a social circle that supports healthy lifestyle behaviors. 

    • Arguably one of the biggest benefits of senior living is the community aspect and social network you can form. No matter where you turn, you are surrounded by other seniors with similar interests and things in common. Finding a walking buddy or someone to attend religious services with has never been easier. Meet a friend for coffee or go on an excursion to a local attraction. Senior living communities are the perfect places to meet other people and make lasting friendships to build your supportive social circle.

Next Steps

elderly man in hawaiian shirt with friends min

elderly man in hawaiian shirt with friends min

The Blue Zone lifestyle is admirable, and it is something we can all strive toward in order to live longer. Even by incorporating just a few of the Power 9 habits into your life, you are making an investment in your health and overall longevity.

Senior living in Florida is filled with opportunities that can help you follow a Blue Zone lifestyle and increase your life expectancy.

To learn more about the best assisted living, independent living, and memory care options in Florida, contact the experts at Florida Senior Consulting.

Our professional senior advisors are local to Florida and have years of experience in the field. They will help you every step of the way to achieve the healthy, maintenance-free lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. 

Best of all, we offer these services at no cost to seniors or their families.

Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to learn your senior living options and start living your best life in your golden years.

Contact Florida Senior Consulting

(800) 969-7176