The Blue Zones

By Dan Buettner (National Geographic, 2008)

Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

Looking for role models of healthy aging — or for your own personal fountain of youth? Take some pointers from the super-vital centenarians that journalist-explorer Dan Buettner interviews in The Blue Zones. Whether they’re pedaling furiously on exercise bikes, chopping back tropical yard growth with machetes, or rising at 4 a.m. to visit the local market for fixings to prepare the Sunday family dinner, these sprightly individuals are living life with gusto. What gives them their joie de vivre at an age when many others expect to be nursing the applesauce? To answer that, Buettner (featured on the cover of Experience Life back in July/August 2006) and a team of researchers visited the world’s communities that boasted the highest life expectancies — Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, Calif. — to discover their secrets. In the process, they teased out the lifestyles and traits that correlate strongly with vibrant aging: a strong sense of purpose, regular physical activity, plant-based diets and loving social networks. The book profiles each fascinating community, and a final chapter compiles a science-supported list of healthy-aging habits you can adapt, starting now. Find out how many extra healthy years they’ll net you by consulting the Vitality Compass at

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