Italy’s Borgo Egnazia has become the first hospitality partner to offer Blue Zones Retreats certified by the Blue Zones Institute.
Founded by Dan Buettner, Blue Zones reflects the lifestyle, traditions and environment of the world’s longest-lived people. Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and York Times bestselling author who discovered five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.
Blue Zones retreats will feature evidence-based solutions from the world’s longest-lived people delivered in a practical format designed to make healthy living easy and sustainable: a blend of genuine food habits, movement sessions, workshops and experiences available at Borgo Egnazia twice in 2019 (from 16 to 21 September and again from 18 to 23 November 2019).
“Borgo Egnazia has always had a strong commitment in delivering ‘happiness’ to people, whether we are talking about staff or guests,” said Erica D’Angelo, wellbeing director at Borgo Egnazia. “Together with Aldo Melpignano, owner and managing director of Borgo Egnazia, we wanted to implement a deeper science-based approach to deliver meaningful wellbeing experiences, so we focused on the ‘Science of Happiness’. Then we came across The Blue Zone organization; the first occasion was at the Global Wellness Summit 2018, when we attended a speech by Dan Buettner and met him personally. That was the beginning of this exciting project and today we are proud to be the first hospitality partner in the world who will offer Blue Zones Retreats certified by the Blue Zones Institute.”
The concept of Blue Zones grew out of the demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain outlined in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology, identifying Sardinia as the region of the world with the highest concentration of male centenarians.
Pes and Poulain drew concentric blue circles on the map highlighting these villages of extreme longevity and began to refer to this area inside the circle as the blue zone. Building on that demographic work, Buettner pinpointed other longevity hotspots around the world and dubbed them Blue Zones.
Ultimately, Buettner and the team of demographers and researchers found that all blue zones areas share nine specific lifestyle habits dubbed the Power 9®. The retreats will be run by Borgo Egnazia personnel who have been trained in these evidence-based principles so that participants can be immersed in the traditions of the world’s longest-lived cultures.
• Move Naturally: the world’s longest–lived people are in environments that nudge them into moving naturally;
• Purpose: waking up in the morning knowing your purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy;
• Down Shift: stress leads to chronic inflammation and is associated with every major age–related disease. The world’s longest–lived people have routines that shed stress;
• 80% Rule: “Hara hachi bu”—the Okinawans say this mantra before meals as a reminder to stop eating when 80 percent full;
• Plant Slant: The best-of-the-best longevity foods are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards. Combined with seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans dominate blue zones meals all year long;
• Wine At 5: toast the sunset or get together with old and new friends for a happy hour. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers, especially if they share those drinks with friends;
• Belong: Attending faith-based services four times per month—no matter the denomination—adds up to 14 years of life expectancy;
• Loved Ones First: spend time with your family. Centenarians put their families first. They keep aging parents and grandparents nearby, commit to a life partner and invest in their children;
• Right Tribe: The world’s longest–lived people chose or were born into social circles that support healthy behaviours.