What Is A Blue Zone? Cruising The Keys To Longevity
Who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful on-the-water locale where you could cruise by gorgeous vistas every day — like the coastal cliffs of Ikaria, Greece, or the colorful facades of Sardinia, Italy? As it turns out, these Mediterranean gems have more in common than beautiful views (and delicious food): they’re two of five international “Blue Zones,” cities recognized for an interesting trait: their residents tend to live over 100 years.
Just read on for a virtual tour of these surprising centers of longevity — and, perhaps, get inspiration for your next Monterey M Series adventure!
All Aboard The Blue Zone
So, what is a Blue Zone exactly? The concept started after a National Geographic expedition, helmed by Dan Buettner, led to the discovery of five places around the world with a disproportionately high percentage of centenarians — aka, people over the age of 100. These places are:
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
- Sardinia, Italy
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
As you can see, all five of the Blue Zones are located near the water. Perhaps that’s no surprise — while access to beautiful oceans makes these fun places to live and visit (more on that later), many studies have pointed to positive physical and mental health benefits from regular exposure to H2O.
A Real-Life Fountain Of Youth?
In studying the Blue Zones, researchers found a variety of traits that the centenarians have in common — and while these cities may seem like a mystical Fountain of Youth, many of the habits can actually be implemented by communities in virtually any corner of the globe. These include things like regular time with family; natural, everyday movement; a love of plant proteins, like beans and lentils; and involvement in the community.
If you want to learn more about the communities dubbed Blue Zones, why not explore them for yourself?
Ikaria, Greece, for example, is a must-see spot for those who are equally interested in Mediterranean views and mythology — its name comes from Icarus, who famously flew too close to the sun. Sun is one thing you’ll find plenty of as you cruise the Aegean Sea around the island of Ikaria; kayaking, water sports, and thermal spa opportunities abound here, too.
Over in another corner of the Mediterranean, you’ll find the Italian island of Sardinia: a charming, colorful enclave where dazzling blue waters run up to towns built into coastal cliffs. You can stay close to the surface and enjoy clear-water snorkeling, or (if you’re more experienced underwater) embark upon a guided dive tour of local shipwrecks. After all, there’s millennia of maritime history to explore here!
You can visit a Blue Zone without a passport, of course. Southern California’s Loma Linda is nestled among the San Bernadino Mountains — but drive a bit westward and you’ll discover ample on-the-water opportunities in the form of Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, or the charming Channel Islands.
Whether you pay these blue zones a visit or decide to make one your full-time home, it’s clear they have a lot to teach us — on and off the water! We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s virtual tour of these one-of-a-kind coastal locales.
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