28 May 2014…Blue Zones – Living Healthier while Living Longer

This week’s blog is about a TED Talk we watched by Dan Buettner, called How to Live to be 100+.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100

It was a very inspiring video looking at these Blue Zones, and also quite interesting to see how our lifestyles differ by country and by culture.  It isn’t the idea of living to be over 100 that captured us, but rather, how one can live with a good quality of life into the golden years…living healthier while living longer.  One can be an 80 year-old who has to take numerous medications in order to continue living, or one can be 80 and start every morning by lifting weights and eating fresh vegetables from their home garden.  Our lives can differ quite drastically depending on our lifestyle and where we live, or rather, how we choose to live our lives.

If you really think about it, we don’t need that much for basic survival.  Instead, we introduce many extra extravagant things into our lives, to “fulfill” our lives, which sometimes causes more stress and pressure than necessary.  The people Dan Buettner followed in this film live very simple lives, and have a close-knit social network, community, and family unit.  Nowadays, we can live thousands of miles away from our nearest relatives, or our children can go abroad for their education, go on exchange programs, and set up their lives far away.  In one way, it makes the world a wondrous place to explore.  On the other hand, it takes us away from the very people that we are most connected to, who love us the most, and who have always supported and protected us.  We are therefore left to do many things on our own, for example, raising children alone, keeping up with household duties in between careers, traveling, etc.  We don’t have our safety network with us at all times.  Alas, that is the life of an expat.  But, even in expat communities, people who are far from their own families can form close relationships, and share stories and experiences, just like a real family.

Thomas and I often imagine if the people in this video would have been exposed to chiropractic care their whole lives, how their physical bodies would look and feel.  By simply setting up their lives so that they are constantly moving and not “exercising” in the way that we define exercise, these people are extraordinarily physically healthy.  Unfortunately, at this point in time, there are limited studies of the efficacy of chiropractic care over a person’s entire lifetime (hopefully, more will come in the future), but the theoretical basis of chiropractic care is restoring the body’s ability to move naturally, which then helps patients to continue moving naturally throughout their lives.  We sometimes think about our young patients and wonder how healthy their spines will be in the future if they continue with chiropractic care throughout their lives.  In the same way dentistry can help fight tooth decay, when a person maintains their spinal and joint health throughout their lives, they have a head start on combating degenerative joint and disc disease in the future.  We believe that a chiropractor is an important part of a health management team to help people achieve an optimum state of health, and to then help them maintain that level throughout their lives.