While the overwhelming majority of people would give anything to find the secret that guarantees them longevity, there are also countless people who claim they don’t want to live until they are a hundred years old or older. The reason why some people feel this way, is simply because they associate age with illnesses, but are they really correct in doing so?
In some ways they are right, but only because so many people fail to take proper care of their bodies. For example, a 70 year old person who has led a sedentary lifestyle is certainly not going to be in the same state of health as a 70 year old person who has always lived a healthy life. How you live your life will determine what state your body and mind will be in once you reach old age.
What Exactly Is Longevity?
Many people tend to see “longevity” and “lifespan” as being the same thing, when in actual fact it isn’t. Longevity has more to do with the quality of one’s life. Naturally, the quality of your life is also going to influence the length of your life, as I’ve touched on in the previous paragraph.
The Okinawa Way
While the United States might have the most centenarians, they (people over the age of 100), they are way behind Japan if you take their respective populations into consideration. The United States has around 54,000 centenarians, while Japan has around 51,000. If we look at these figures in terms of each country’s population we see that the USA has around 17 centenarians per 100,000 people. Japan on the other hand has around 35 centenarians per 100,000 people.
Japan well and truly leads the world as far as longevity is concerned, and while the entire country takes credit for this, there are two areas in particular which stand out. The first one being Shimane Prefecture, and the other being Okinawa Prefecture. It is generally believed that the typical Japanese diet is responsible for the country’s longevity reputation. The Japanese also tend to seek inner harmony, thereby reducing things like stress, anxiety and anger. They are also very aware of the benefits which are to be had from doing regular exercise and etc.
The high number of centenarians in Japan, and especially in Okinawa, intrigued researchers and was later the subject of a 25 year long study. Anyone that would like to learn more regarding the findings of this study should definitely consider reading “The Okinawa Way”.
The Okinawa Diet
The Okinawa Diet (also featured in The Okinawa Way) is an important element of the typical Okinawa lifestyle. Generally speaking, the diet involves eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, quite often in their raw form. Consumption of red meat should be reduced, while increasing the amount of fish you eat. Refined grains such as white rice should be avoided, and instead, they should be replaced with whole grains, along with two portions of soy based products per day.
To find out if the Okinawa way of life can really improve longevity, one can simply board a flight to Okinawa and witness it firsthand. So, if it’s really so easy to increase longevity, why aren’t more people following in the footsteps of the Japanese? The answer, I’m afraid to say, is rather obvious.
No Pain No Gain
You can improve the quality of your life, and perhaps even increase your lifespan by following the Okinawa example, but as with most things in life, it doesn’t come free. There’s a price, albeit not a monetary one. Sacrifices will have to be made as will a few lifestyle changes.