Your lifestyle is the secret to longevity

Leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to a long life, and there is research to prove it. Experts have identified the world’s five Blue Zones – places where people live measurably better and longer – and what we can learn from them.

Research by Dan Buettner and National Geographic has identified the five pockets around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who live to be 100, as follows:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Ikaria, Greece


Study into these communities found lifestyle habits in common that may well hold the secret to longevity and wellbeing. Here are some of them:

  • Avoid overeating – Okinawans actively restrict their calorie intake and believe in eating only until you are 80 per cent full. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more for the rest of the day.

  • Moving naturally – The longest-lived people lead lifestyles that involve exercise in the environments in which they live. They grow gardens and engage in lengthy walks – not as active exercise, but as an element of their everyday life. 

  • Less meat, more beans – Beans including fava, black, soy and lentils are an important part of the diet of centenarians. They consume meat on average only five times a month and only in small serving sizes.

  • Family first –The world’s longest-lived societies place heavy emphasis on family. They keep ageing parents nearby, commit to a life partner and are dedicated to caring for their children.

  • Sense of purpose –Centenarians focus on fostering a sense of purpose, which can be worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.


Leading the right lifestyle is integral to long-term health and wellbeing. Not-for-profit health insurer, HCF, offers quality health insurance and a wide range of support tools and services to help members be proactive about managing their health.

HCF’s Fit and Free cover (tailored for people aged 50 to 65) comes with free overseas travel insurance and can save couples over $800 per year. Join online now to receive one month free, and waivers on two- and six-month waiting periods.

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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