There are areas in the world where they can easily live to be 100 years old. Take the Japanese island of Okinawa, for example, which is home to the largest number of centenarians in the world. And not only that: all those centenarians are also bursting with energy. How this is possible is described in detail in the book Ikigai, which I recently read with great interest. Read on for all the tips I gained!
The book Ikigai
The book Ikigai was published last year and gives the vision of writers Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles on the intriguing way of life of the inhabitants of Okinawa. The writers were curious about the great secret of all those glowing, happy centenarians on the Japanese island. In order to fully understand everything, they even lived there for a while and made some surprising discoveries.
It’s no coincidence that the old ones are doing so well. They all have more or less the same lifestyle, the authors of the book Ikigai discovered. The inhabitants of the island live uncomplicated in the open air, eat healthy, have a pleasant social life and a zest for life from here to Tokyo. But what exactly does all this mean? See below for a deeper explanation of this lifestyle.
The title of this book, Ikigai, refers to (how could it be otherwise) a Japanese concept. Literally translated it means: “the happiness of always being busy”. Perhaps a good translation into Dutch is “rust rust”. In Japan, people therefore remain active well after their retirement, as long as their health allows it. In fact, they don’t even know a literal word for retirement!
But the concept of ‘Ikigai’ goes further than that. Ikigai also refers to the reason you get up in the morning. In other words: a great passion ensures satisfaction, happiness and well-being. Follow your life purpose and you are more likely to grow old happily. Just like the residents of Okinawa.
Just living your passion won’t get you there. Movement is also a keyword for tapping the 100. The old Japanese don’t necessarily exercise, but they do exercise a lot. They like to walk, weed in their garden and play a (not too wild) ball game. So make sure you stay ‘on the move’, is the Japanese message.
Stress is not good for you, you might already know that. Stress makes your body age in no time and you drastically reduce the chance of ever reaching 100. But yes, take a look at it in this busy society. We all live at a killer pace and are constantly under pressure from something. Still, you’ll have to try to get that stress level down if you want to live to be as old as the Okinawans. So the next time the teacher at school asks you to come and tinker with mango hedgehogs while you also have an important meeting to prepare, just say no, okay?
Japanese tricks to relieve stress
As agitated westerners, we can certainly learn something from Japanese anti-stress methods. For example, see the following simple tricks mentioned in the book:
- keep your house tidy and clean
- listen to music in a warm bath
- choose a balanced diet
- meditate, do breathing exercises and give yourself a regular head massage
It’s worth a try, right?
What you eat also plays an important role in aging. What do they put on their plates in Okinawa?
- lots of fruits and vegetables, at least 5 times a day
- meat at most twice a week
- fish 3 times a week
- no white sugar, but occasionally products with cane sugar
- grains such as rice, buckwheat noodles, and wheat noodles
- they also eat a very varied diet. They take as many as 18 different foods a day
Hara hachi Bu
Sounds like a fun spell, but it isn’t. Hara hachi Bu means as much as: “the stomach up to 80%”. This means that you should not stuff yourself, but always leave some space. The idea behind this is that if you eat too much, you exhaust the body too much. This accelerates cellular oxidation (and thus aging). And we don’t want that, do we!
I enjoyed reading this original book, which is easy to read. Inspiring, how some Japanese give meaning to their lives and thereby maintain a high quality of life. It also contains useful anti-aging advice. As an “anti-aging hobbyist” I already knew a number of tips, but it is certainly good to hear them again. I also learned some new things, such as about finding your own Ikigai, your passion. I think mine consists of inspiring others, for example through this blog. Do you already know where yours is?
ps: Okinawa appears to be a frontrunner in anti-aging on several fronts. It was brought to my attention that the genesis of Novexpert (one of my favorite cosmetic brands) also started in Okinawa. Here lies the source of an ingredient (Novaxyline) that reactivates the youth gene.
Would you like to know more about the interesting Japanese anti-aging lifestyle? For example, order your own copy of the here for 15.00 euros book Ikigai†
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