In Sardinia, Italy, it’s common for men to live to 100 years old, and the island has the highest number of male centenarians on the planet. This can be contrasted to the United States, where 100-year-old women outnumber 100-year-old men by 6 to 1.
Sardinians live in steep homes with stairwells, so they have to go up and down the stairs. Traditionally, these men worked as shepherds on the mountainside, which required a lot of walking on inclines.
Author and longevity expert Dan Buettner said, “They spend time with their animals, they’re up in the hills walking, they take naps and by happy hour, they’re usually back in their villages sharing a glass of wine with their friends.”
Netflix docuseries “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” premiered on Aug 30 and discussed how longevity is so prevalent in these areas. These men are also good at quitting their work when it’s time to stop. They end their workday on time and spend time with friends and family.
Buettner says that it’s not that they do not have any stress they do, but it’s just that they don’t have chronic stress. He says they work but are not stressed out at work.
Stress, longevity and disease
Research shows that chronic stress is one of the drivers of ageing-related diseases. Glucose spikes and inflammation in the body lead to issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
Neuro-ophthalmologist Dr Mithu Storoni says, “This sense of active coping, where you can resolve the problems you are given, is a very important part of mental health, cognitive longevity and stress resilience.
Other areas known for longevity among its residents include Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula, also featured in the docuseries.
Buettner says in Nicoya, like other Blue Zones, people would never do a couple of hours of work when they could be enjoying their family, taking a siesta or interacting with their friends. They always slow down to make time for things that matter.
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