Fundamentals of Healthy Aging – What are Okinawans Doing?

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Fundamentals of Healthy Aging – What are Okinawans Doing?

Several “themes” have become apparent when the lifestyles of the longest-lived Okinawans have been examined. Perhaps most importantly, they are not overweight. In fact, they tend to be slightly underweight – naturally! – they have enjoyed a lifetime of lean trimness without any periods of adult excess fat accumulation. In terms of dietary practices, their habit is to stop eating at the first feelings of fullness, instead of stuffing themselves with excess food. If you don’t gain it you never need to lose it.

They begin life active and they remain in motion as much as is possible, exercising every day in the form of dance, soft martial arts, walking and gardening. They seem to embody a type of personification of that old physics adage that a body in motion tends to remain in motion and not collapse under its own inertia.

Of course, they also shun self-destructive use of tobacco products or alcohol to excess.

Personality testing has found that Okinawan centenarians, when they were decades younger and in their prime of life, scored low when it came to feelings of “time urgency” and “tension” and high in “self-confidence” and “unyieldingness.” Interviews revealed optimistic attitudes, adaptability, and an easy-going approach to life. Moderation was found to be a key cultural value. Strong social integration and a deep spirituality were particularly evident among Okinawan women. These all tend to be habits and outlooks that contribute to a low-stress lifestyle. Stress being a major cause of disease, it’s fruitful to avoid stress as much as possible – the Okinawan way of life.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
What about in the Mediterranean?