Discovering the Blue Zone Secrets of Longevity
By Ted Kackowski, Personal Trainer at Village Camelback
Welcome back to our journey of discovering the secrets to a longer, healthier life as revealed by the captivating Netflix documentary series, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.” I’m Ted Kackowski, and in this second installment of our blog series, we’ll delve into the vital aspects of daily physical activity and stress reduction – two factors often underestimated in our pursuit of well-being.
Exploring the Blue Zones: Italy and California
In this episode, the documentary takes us on a journey to Italy and California. It showcases the significance of physical activity in the lives of these vibrant communities. What’s truly inspiring is how they seamlessly integrate daily movement into their routines, whether through gardening, walking, or volunteering. These practices, as we’ll see, have the power to transform lives.
Bringing Blue Zone Habits Home
Now, you might wonder how to embrace these practices in the desert environment we call home. The good news is the Village offers a plethora of activities and classes that align perfectly with your fitness goals. Whether it’s picking up a new skill like fencing, joining a stretch class, or enjoying a game of pickleball, the possibilities are endless. With the weather cooling down, taking a leisurely walk through your neighborhood becomes not only practical but enjoyable. Multiple short walks throughout the day have been proven to offer health benefits, so lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement. The stunning desert landscape, with its sun-drenched days and majestic mountains, makes it nearly impossible to stay in a bad mood when you’re outside.
Volunteering is another avenue to explore. While it may not be feasible every day, it provides physical and emotional benefits that are truly worth the effort. Some of my clients have found fulfillment in tour guiding at the MIM, ushering at Phoenix Theater, or helping repair bikes for a non-profit. Others have ventured into activities like glassblowing, paddleboarding, or culinary courses. What these pursuits have in common is the sense of community they foster – a key component of the Blue Zone lifestyle.
The Modern Western Culture Challenge
In our fast-paced, modern western culture, finding time for daily physical activity can be challenging. The endless demands of work, traffic, and the pressures of daily life often lead to chronic stress. Instead of thinking of it as “daily physical activity,” consider it as doing things you genuinely enjoy. Productivity and accomplishment go hand in hand with feeling good about yourself. Being an active member of a community can significantly reduce stress and provide a much-needed mental break. The activity you choose doesn’t have to be high-intensity; it just needs to get you moving and engaged. Gardening, volunteering, or a brisk walk with your furry friends – they all count as positive steps toward better health.
The Village: A Hub of Health and Community
One of the reasons the Village is such a remarkable health club is its sense of community. We not only help you achieve your fitness goals but also offer a friendly, supportive environment where you can enjoy social events, take beginner-level classes, and explore sports like pickleball. If that’s not your cup of tea, drop by for a meal, savor a great view during your conference call, or treat yourself to a relaxing haircut and massage. Being active in your community, whether through fitness or other enjoyable activities, is a surefire way to reduce stress and enhance your overall quality of life.
A Unified Approach to Health and Happiness
To wrap up this post, let’s perform a magic trick of sorts – combining the twin habits of lowering stress and embracing daily activity into one. Instead of viewing them as separate tasks, consider ways to incorporate enjoyable, healthy activities into your daily life. This unified approach is the key to unlocking the secrets of longevity from the Blue Zones.
Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration from ‘Live to 100’ in our upcoming blog posts at the Village, where we’re dedicated to helping you live your longest, healthiest life.
About Ted Kackowski
Ted was born and raised in Indianapolis and received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Indiana University. He received his master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology from Carroll University in Wisconsin. Prior to working at the Village, Ted worked in several different rehab and clinical settings, including cardiopulmonary rehab, a diabetic education center, and stroke rehab. He has helped individuals of all ages and likes to focus his training on the health benefits of exercise and his client’s goals. He enjoys employing exercises to build strength, improve daily living activities, and increase his client’s health.