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The SeniorScape™

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

You Don’t Have to be an Expert to Blue Zone Your Home

Making small and simple changes to your home, your lifestyle and your diet can make a big difference

in the quality and duration of your life.

The Blue Zone Kitchen is the heart of the home.

Not only for eating, but it should be the social hub of your home. According to Blue Zone Methodology

how and with whom you eat is equally important to what you eat.

Before the pandemic had us social distancing, our preoccupation with our smart phones and social media

had us distanced from one another. How often have you seen, or have been in the situation, where you are eating with someone or observed two people seated at the same table during a meal and each one is preoccupied with their phone? This is the antithesis of the social interaction that exemplifies the Blue Zone kitchen. Thus, the Blue Zone kitchen is also about positive, social interactions with friends and family. Many articles refer to your “right tribe” as being essential for healthy relationships. Healthy relationships encourage healthier eating choices just as conversely, when surrounded by unhealthy relationships it tends to drive us to less than optimal food choices.

The people who live the longest have similar dietary regimens. They eat less meat and dairy; they eat eggs and fish infrequently. Snacks consist of handfuls of nuts, they consume beans daily and prefer single ingredient raw cooked foods. Their predominant daily dietary intake is plant based. Breads are usually made of sour dough, rye or pumpernickel, not the grocery store shelf variety. Beverages are limited to green, dandelion, sage and rosemary teas that all have natural anti-inflammatory qualities. Coffee and red wine can be consumed sparingly and infrequently. the main source of their hydration is water. Create a habit of drinking a glass of water before and after each meal. It will help you achieve a sense of fulness before the meal which can help you eat less but will also satisfy the bodies need for hydration. Optimally our daily water consumption should equal half of our body weight in ounces of water.

Creating a positive environment that encourages an easy flow for cooking can be done in ways that go beyond organizing the space and countertop. The utensils you use can have a positive effect on how you feel about meal preparation. Consider ergonomically shaped utensil handles that fit comfortably in yours hand and are easy to use.

The Blue Zone Bedroom Invites Sleep

Eight hours is considered the optimal number of sleep hours essential for health and well-being. Sleep is the time the body renourishes and replenishes. While many people believe they function well enough on reduced number of sleep hours, research tell us that insufficient sleep increases the risk of a variety of help problems including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. It also can lead to

poor decision making, the friend of impaired judgment, and reduces a person’s feelings of attractiveness.

Thus, eight hours of sleep is optimal for longevity.

Creating an environment and a routine that lends itself to a restful night’s sleep is essential. Consider turning off the TV, taking a social media break one hour before bedtime and ensuring your bedroom is cool and comfortable. Dimming the lights an hour before bedtime can prime your body and your mind for the “activity” of sleep. Consider removing digital alarm clocks with brightly lit screens or turn them away from your immediate line of sight. Exposure to nighttime lights has been proven to suppress the secretion of the hormone melatonin which controls sleep and wakefulness. Blocking outside streetlights with shades, blinds or curtains falls in this category.

Blue Zoning the Home Environment

A Blue Zoned home creates a comfortable environment that promotes movement. According to the Mayo Clinic an optimally arranged home environment can help burn an extra 150 calories per day which can translate to 6 pounds per year. Once again, simple changes can make a major difference. We’ve gotten so used to having things at our fingertips that we haven’t realized how much more sedentary we have become as a result.

Opting to use hand propelled tools over power tools has far more beneficial effects than working up a sweat and burning calories. It helps your heart rate, mobility and strengthens muscles. For homeowners this would mean using hand lawn mowers, traditional snow shovels and rakes.

Low intensity but continuous activities such as gardening also have tremendous benefits. It is a joint friendly physical activity that can be sustained over a long period of time. It also promotes calm and therefore lowers the stress hormone cortisol. No room for a garden? Consider surrounding yourself with plants. The exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen in your environment can be rejuvenating. Place the plants in different parts of your living environment and at different levels so that at least once weekly you have to walk from room to room for watering. It promotes calm, has the same beneficial effects as walking and stretching and gives a person something to care about outside of themselves. A study conducted in a nursing home found that residents who cared for plants became more social, talkative and had a greater sense of purpose.

This next practice takes determination and requires some work to break the convenience habit. Move the TV remote control so that it is not in your immediate reach. This will force you to get up to change the channel which in and of itself can burn 10 calories each time you to so. According to the Mayo clinic, the simple activity of standing and walking can help burn an additional 350 calories per day.

Consider using idle time for exercise. For example, try doing calf raises or stretches while you’re waiting for water to boil or the blender to finish blending your favorite smoothie ingredients. Create ample space in your living environment so you can easily walk from room to room. This can be likened to an indoor walking path.

Walk the path several times each day.

Some changes will require practice and reminders. Creating new habits takes time. Try posting notes around your home in the areas where you might need a nudge. For example, a post it that tells you to place the TV remote further away from where you are sitting; or a note telling you to walk 5 laps around your house twice a day.

Blue Zoning your home and lifestyle can be considered a form of self-care or IMpathy® Once on that road, in addition to feeling better physically you may feel a sense of satisfaction that you are taking positive and conscious action to contribute to your health and well-being.

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