In Japan, there are already 1,450 people above the age of 100 (88.4% of whom are women). One of the world's five Blue Zones, the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa, has a high percentage of centenarians. Dr. Bradley Willcox, a member of the Okinawa Centenarian Study study team, shares some of the keys to a long and healthy life.
1. New centenarian record
According to the health ministry, Japan's centenarian population has recently reached a new high of 86,510, a rise of 6,060 from 2020 and up from just 153 when records first started in 1963.
It means that one in 1,450 Japanese people are now over 100 years old, and 88.4% of these people are women, including the oldest person in the world, Kane Tanaka, who is 118 years old.
In 2015, Okinawa had almost twice as many centenarians per 100,000 residents as the rest of Japan did.
2. The Okinawan way of balance
1. Practice ‘hara hachi bu’, eat for health and exercise: The free radical levels in the blood of the centenarians were lower. Due to a cultural custom known as Hara Hachi Bu, which encourages eating until about 80% full, Okinawans simply consume fewer calories than the average person. Less calories cause less free radical production during digestion. Better cardiovascular health and a lower risk of cancer and other chronic disorders result from fewer free radicals.
2. Be positive and find your ‘ikigai’, sense of purpose: Okinawans' personalities were examined, and it was discovered that they were typically stress-free and had a cheerful attitude on life. They were adept at coping and had a strong sense of meaning, spirituality, and purpose. The optimistic mindset of Okinawans may also account for their lower risk of dementia.
3. Keep up a “moai”: Creating a moai is an Okinawan practice that offers safe social networks. In times of need, these safety nets provide both financial and emotional support, as well as the calming assurance that someone will always be there for them.
4. Stay mentally engaged: Up until recently, the concept of retirement simply didn't exist in Okinawan because the language doesn't have a word for it. If you are a farmer, you just continued to do what you always did. If you stop doing something you've been doing, especially if you enjoyed it and it gave you a feeling of purpose, I believe you may fall apart quickly. The goal is to simply maintain engagement. Because people are keeping physically and cognitively active their entire lives, it lowers healthcare expenditures and greatly improves their quality of life.
The Okinawans demonstrate to us the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, including longer lifespans and a lower risk of contracting diseases. By altering your lifestyle, you can live longer and feel better now and when you're 110. Learn to alter your eating patterns, increase your exercise, and relax to get started right now.