People dwelling in Blue Zones (longevity hotspots across the globe, including parts of Costa Rica, Greece, and Japan) seem to have mastered the secret sauce of living their best lives. Not only do they advocate for clocking seven-plus hours of sleep and finding an ultra-inspiring social group, they also lay claim to a simple, yet brilliant fitness tip: move naturally.
Rather than popping on MindBody to book a spot on a stationary spin bike, you’ll find these connoisseurs of carpe diem walking to work, taking the stairs, and indulging in a mid-afternoon stretch, according to Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who Have Lived the Longest. They’re also big fans of growing their own gardens, and using non-mechanical approaches to complete yard and housework.
There’s a whole bunch of science supporting this back-to-basics approach, reports Quartzy: Americans have reported that their daily car commute is the most dreaded part of their everyday lives, according to NPR, so replacing it with a leisurely stroll could majorly help to de-stress. And last year, the American Cancer Society found that a daily stroll could reduce the risk of dementia by 40 percent. Plus (just to drive the point home), a report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this year found that walking at 2.7 fits the bill for moderate-intensity exercise.
Sure, 9 to 5ers with highly sedentary jobs don’t always have the opportunity to frolic about at your leisure. But chances are you could squeeze in some time for a quick walk around the block, stretching as you refill your coffee cup, or dancing to your jam-of-the-moment.
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