Mind & Body

Can Your Home Design Contribute to Longevity?

Apply the lessons from the world's longest-living people to your own living space
TIMEDecember 30, 2021

Have you ever heard of “blue zones”? If not, they are areas of the world where people live considerably longer than the vast majority of others.

People in these regions, the longest-living people on earth, don’t get their longevity from fad diets, workouts, or other short-lived lifestyle changes. Instead, they live in areas that nudge them, perhaps unconsciously, to healthier behavior like eating more plant-based food, socializing, and moving more.

Can you set up your home to mimic this effect? In a way. Although it’s not possible to replicate the natural environment of a blue zone in your home, you can use these regions as inspiration to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some of the things you can do to build a healthier living space that may contribute to you living longer and better.

Eat with others as often as possible. Socializing is a core part of many blue zone lifestyles, and research has shown that it can contribute to better physical and mental health. Aside from these effects, eating with others contributes to slower eating.

Keep your TV far from the kitchen. Not exactly a lesson from the blue zones, but research suggests that people often eat past the point of fullness when they watch television. If you have to walk to another area of your home, or even up or down a flight of stairs, you’re less likely to snack mindlessly, while getting a few extra steps in as well.

Grow a vegetable garden. Having a vegetable garden encourages more physical activity and a healthier diet. Further, gardening seems to be consistent in every blue zone. If you don’t have the space for your own, look into a nearby community garden.

Add more plants to your home. Plants and greenery can help improve air quality and relieve stress, two components that can contribute to better health and longevity.

Try to use low furniture and rugs. Some blue zones do this. Falls are a major concern for Americans 65 and over and are one of the leading causes of hospitalization. Lower furniture and carpets may help reduce the risk. People in Okinawa, Japan tend to sit on cushions on the floor, which encourage better balance, muscle strength, flexibility, mobility, and posture. They exercise their legs, back, and core as they get up and sit down over and over throughout the day.

Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on BelMarraHealth.com

Mat Lecompte
Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.