• Home
  • /Faith
  • /The Fountain of Youth? Words of wisdom from the people who’ve lived the longest

The Fountain of Youth? Words of wisdom from the people who’ve lived the longest

I thought about the many workout programs like “Insanity” and other similar programs that are rising in popularity as I read the first answer below. Much food for thought in this book by Dan Buettner… Thanks to Scott Baldwin and Verne Harnisch for bringing it to my attention.

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest 

Dan Buettner’s book offers simple advice to living longer and having a higher quality of life.


Question: In your book, you identify the “Power 9”: nine habits or behaviors all Blue Zone populations have in common. Could you talk about one or two that the average American takes most for granted?

Dan Buettner: Many Americans exercise too hard. The life expectancy of our species, for 99.9% of human history, was about 30 years. The fact that medicine has pushed life expectancy to age 78 doesn’t mean our bodies were designed for three-quarters of a century of pounding. Muscles tear, joints wear out, backs go out. The world’s longest-lived people tend to do regular, low intensity physical activity, like walking with friends, gardening and playing with their children. The key is to do something light every day.

I also think the trend toward isolation is a mistake. Drive down any American street at 9:00 pm and you can see the greenish glow of the television or the computer in people’s window. We’ve become an increasingly isolated society. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends. Now it’s down to two. We know that isolation shaves good years off of your life. In The Blue Zones, I advocate reconnecting with your religious community and proactively building friendships with the right people.

Question: Is there something about the physical landscape that contributes to an area being a Blue Zone, or can people make their own personal Blue Zones, regardless of where they live?

Dan Buettner: Staying young and living long is mostly a function of your environment… and the good news is that to a great extent, we each have control over that environment. In the Blue Zones around the world, people live in places where walking is the main means of transportation, where the sun shines strong all year long so they get enough vitamin D; where they have established social norms that bring people together in supportive groups or clubs. The Blue Zones book shows you how to take about two hours and set up your home, your social life and your work place to help you get up to 10 more good years out of life (and look younger along the way!).

Question: Are Blue Zones about living longer, or living better?

Dan Buettner: Both. The same things that get you to a healthy 100 get you there better. The Blue Zones offers a completely different way to think about longevity and youth maintenance. If you look at the Power9—the common denominators of the longest-lived people—you see that they tend to put their families first, they belong to a faith-based community and they know their sense of purpose. All of these behaviors are associated with 3-6 years of life (which is better than any diet can promise) and they’re good years. In other words, the same Blue Zone tenets that will help you get to a healthy age 90 will help ensure those years are vital and enriching.

Question: If considering all nine habits at once seems overwhelming, what’s the first step someone could take toward living a more enriching, longer life?

Dan Buettner: The good news is that the Power9 is an a la carte menu: by no means do you have to do all nine to gain more good years out of life. In fact, do six of them and get about 90% of the benefit. The most important thing you can do is building your own Right Tribe. Which is to say, all of the world’s longest-lived people were born into, or consciously chose to associate with, the right people. The Framingham Studies show us that if your three best friends are obese, there’s a 50% better chance that you’ll be obese. The reverse is true too. If you dine with people who eat healthy food, you’re more likely to eat healthy food; if the friends you spend the most time with play a sport, you’re more likely to join them. As your mother said, “You’re known by the company you keep.” You’re also likely to resemble them.

(Interview above posted at Amazon.com)
– – – 
No matter what age you are today, at some point you will start to think about your priorities and what will get you to the highest quality of life while we are on earth. I believe in eternity with God through faith in Jesus Christ. At the same time, I believe we are given free will and we can have a higher quality life by making healthy and wise choices. We don’t know how long we have. Why not make great choices and make the best of the time we do have?!


There is no magic “Fountain of Youth” in Dan Buettner’s book. There is great wisdom. You can order the book here:
Want more? I recommend grabbing a Bible and reading “Ecclesiastes” – the wisdom of Solomon. It inspired a great song by the Byrds. It has inspired many great authors and poets. It, like Dan Buettner’s book, may inspire you as well. It holds great wisdom about the journey of life and making the most of it. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *