One of my favorite books is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Author Dan Buettner looks at areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, with large populations of people who live past 100.
He’s taken their life lessons to create The Power 9. These nine habits create a “blueprint” to living a longer and healthier life. The interesting thing is none of the people he studied consciously followed these Power 9 or set a goal to live to be 100. They just did. Their lifestyles and communities were set up to make long life possible.
Would you say the same of yours?
My community is working on it. We are working on taking the Power 9 principles and making Springfield, MO a healthier place to live. There are a lot of exciting ideas floating around, especially after Buettner’s visit to our fair city this month. In his presentations, he gave us examples of work in other towns (and almost the entire state of Iowa) using the Power 9 to create an environment that supports overall healthy and longevity.
Do you want to make your community a healthier place to live? Here are great ways to get started from his talk:
Volunteer for a walking school bus. When a room of business leaders and professionals were asked if they walked to school as a kid, nearly all raised their hands. When asked if their kids walked to school only two raised their hands. Is it any wonder childhood obesity is a problem?
Work with your local schools to make halls and classrooms “snack free zones.” Unfortunately when kids eat between classes they are typically downing sodas and fundraiser candy bars. Limiting food to cafeterias and special events cuts down on the access to junk foods.
Ask local restaurants to make the breadbasket or chips and salsa an “upon request” option. Most of us don’t need the temptation of extra food (and calories) brought to our table automatically. It can also save the owner money.
Plant a community garden in your local park or schoolyard. The city saves money with less grass to mow. Those who work the garden get access to its fresh bounty.
Ask your local grocery for a Blue Zones check out lane. No Snickers for purchase in this aisle. Instead, ask them to offer fruit, protein bars and other healthy options. Provide another incentive to use it with a 10% discount on any produce purchased.
Ask your community and its leaders to make health a priority. It may never be a Blue Zone, but who doesn’t want a little help getting a little healthier and happier?
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