New York Times Best-selling author, explorer and researcher Dan Buettner was in the Windy City Wednesday to discuss the second edition of his book, “Blue Zones: 9 Power Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”
During the Northwestern Mutual-hosted event titled, “Live Longer, Better,” Buettner draws on his research of long-lived communities around the globe to highlight the lifestyle, diet, outlook, and stress-coping practices that add years to your life.
Despite being a busy man, Buettner found time to talk with Chicago Health News Examiner Brandi Walker about his book, tips for living longer and what community in Chicago constitutes as a Blue Zone.
1. Who inspired you to write this book? People living in the Blue Zones; places where people live the longest; not only do they live longer, they live better into their old age. I wanted to share the stories of some of these remarkable people and their secrets to living well.
2. Who were some of the longest-living people that you interviewed for this book? I interviewed 255 people from around the world who reside in Blue Zones. I met a 100-year-old woman from Loma Linda, California, who starts the day with a walk, 6 to 8 miles on a stationary bike, and weight lifting. I met a 102-year-old man from Greece’s Ikaria Island who immigrated to the United States, was diagnosed with lung cancer in his 60s and given less than a year to live. He returned to Ikaria to die and instead, he recovered and now he makes 100 gallons of wine from his vineyards each year, which he drinks with his friends.
3. How do Chicagoans measure up to the longest-lived communities in the world? The city of Chicago has many walkable neighborhoods, access to fresh food and places to worship, which gives it a leg-up on other areas that don’t have sidewalks or require driving more than one mile for fresh food.
4. What are your top three tips to living a longer, healthy life? Having a purpose and knowing exactly what your values are will add additional years to your life. Additionally, the people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits. Lastly, make it a priority to spend time with your friends and family, as those in the Blue Zones do.