During lockdown it can be difficult to feel healthy in our bodies and minds. When confined to our houses, we might not feel motivated to do an intense workout. Equally, we might feel more tempted by takeaways and junk food. These are difficult times, and beating ourselves up certainly isn’t productive. So, instead, let’s consider some small changes we could make to our daily routines that will have a transformative effect on our mental and physical health.
Enter, blue zoning: a practice inspired by regions in the world with the highest life expectancies, who are healthy in mind and body. The concept of ‘blue zoning’ is all about helping you realise your potential and bettering your health, without making drastic changes to your life.
Let’s find out a little more about blue zone regions and how we can emulate this healthy lifestyle during lockdown.
What is blue zoning?
Around the world, ‘blue zone’ communities have been thriving for years. These are communities of people who live long and healthy lives — in fact, these people have the oldest life expectancy in the world! From Icaria in Greece to Okinawa in Japan, people are thriving into their 100s, and each detail of their lives contributes to this impressive feat.
In blue zone regions, moderate physical exercise is built into people’s daily lives. Gentle exercise and healthy habits such as climbing stairs more often are proving to be more beneficial than hitting the gym and living life to the extreme. Blue zone populations show low rates of chronic disease and, since following in their footsteps, regions which have emulated this blue zone lifestyle have seen drops in obesity, smoking, and BMI.
Although each of the established ‘blue zones’ has different features, there are certain common threads. As well as a focus on light exercise (such as brisk walking) and habitual activities, the regions mainly stick to a plant-based diet and are more likely to be spiritual.
How Can You Blue Zone in Self Isolation?
Blue zoning your home is easier than you might think. You’ll be amazed at how simple changes in your routine will benefit your health and your mood. Walking, cooking, cleaning, and other habitual activities all contribute to a ‘blue zone’ way of life. Optimising your home for these activities is the first step towards beginning your ‘blue zone’ lifestyle.
Here are ten easy ways to introduce blue zoning into your home:
1. Organise your home to increase your steps
This could be as simple as keeping your remote control at the opposite side of the room to your sofa. Get creative! Whatever gets you up on your feet and moving about. Make sure you need to head up and down your stairs frequently throughout the day.
2. Monitor your steps using a Fitbit or other fitness tracker
What better way to know these small household adjustments are working? Monitor your steps every day and you’ll be surprised by how much you walk while you’re trying to stay on your feet slightly more than usual.
3. Adjust your lighting to reduce eye strain
There’s a time and a place for mood lighting, but if you’re working from home, you’d do better to keep in bright. This way, you’ll reduce eye strain when trying to focus.
4. De-convenience your house
We all rely on appliances to do just about everything around the house. But if we want to make the most out of our new blue zoning lifestyle, we need to go back to completing tasks manually. From lawnmowers to egg whisks, go back to basics.
5. Change the way you do your laundry
Bending down to pick up your laundry can do more damage to your back than you realise. It’ll do your posture wonders to elevate your laundry basket slightly higher up. When it comes to laundry day, don’t strain your back carrying a heavy load — go back and forth with smaller amounts to get your steps in.
6. Reorganise your kitchen temptations
Often, we’ll gravitate towards the snack that’s the most convenient. So, if you want to cut out the unhealthy foods, simply make them less accessible and keep a full fruit bowl in a prominent place instead.
7. Get enough sleep
A common theme of the blue zone regions is that they get a healthy amount of sleep, including regular day time naps. Use your fitness tracker to monitor your sleeping pattern to make sure that you’re getting enough rest.
8. Sleep at the optimal temperature
It has been proven that 15 to 19 degrees celsius is the best temperature to sleep at — monitor your heating system and get it perfect. It is also a good idea to block out all sources of light so that you get the best sleep possible.
9. Make the switch to a blue zone diet
Consider a more plant-based diet and see what difference it makes. Blue zone diets are also heavily dependant on whole grains, nuts, and legumes, so try to introduce as many of these as possible.
10. Allow yourself downtime and relaxation
Another common feature of the blue zone regions is a lack of stress and a relaxed approach to life. Take time to de-stress and don’t work yourself too hard. After all, you deserve a break during lockdown.
These changes may sound minuscule, but the idea of blue zoning is that lots of small, manageable changes, will result in a wonderful impact on your mind and body. Why not give at least some of these ideas a go? We know you’d love to be throwing on your designer bikini and trying out the true blue zone experience in Icaria, or Sardinia in Italy. But until then, give your lockdown habitat a blue zone makeover!