Long ago, I was given the advice that if you want something in life badly enough, find people who've accomplished that goal and learn from them.
As a cardiologist deeply committed to teaching strategies for longevity and vitality, I've studied the lifestyles of communities whose members frequently reach age 100 and beyond. (I've been particularly interested in centenarians who are still active and independent.) The current thinking is that lifespan is determined by 10% genetic makeup and 90% lifestyle (with some good luck thrown in).
So: What can we learn from the lifestyles of the ultra-elderly?
The most widely-known research on this topic has been done by Dan Buettner, a reporter and author, and has been published in several editions of a book called The Blue Zones. Working with National Geographic, Buettner researched and then visited communities where people who have lived the longest reside. He highlighted disperse areas (dubbed "The Blue Zones") where people live to be 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. They are: (1) Okinawa, Japan; (2) Loma Linda, California; (3) Sardinia, Italy; (4) Nicoya, Costa Rica; and (5) Ikaria, Greece.
Common patterns were found among these 5 zones of excess centenarians, even though they are far from one another. These include: