4 Hawaiian Secrets for Living Longer
By: Robin Reichert
Hawaiian’s live longer than people in any other U.S.A. state according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Here are 4 reasons why:
Life in Hawaii is a more laid-back, slowed-down and relaxed way of life. The slower pace of life in Hawaii allows people to spend more time with family and to enjoy more leisure activities. Whether it’s surfing, playing on the beach or just relaxing in the shade, people in Hawaii know how to let loose and have fun.
In fact, according to a Gallup poll of people all over the United States, residents of Hawaii reported being the least stressed with about 32 percent admitting that they were stressed on any given day. People who live in Hawaii have jobs, families and financial obligations just like people elsewhere, but the Hawaiian lifestyle tends to be more balanced.
Hawaiians spend more time with family and worry less about money. There is a strong sense of community among residents who truly value relationships. A relaxing environment can help set your mind and body at ease so that even if you have a busy day or a difficult job, you might just feel less stressed if you live in Hawaii.
It may be possible that plenty of sunshine can lead to a happier, healthier life. Medical experts disagree about the link between seasonal affective disorder, feelings of depression or sadness in the winter when there is less sunlight, but there is certainly enough circumstantial and anecdotal evidence to link lack of sunlight to sadness and depression. Furthermore, studies have found that those living in colder, darker climates tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which may be due to a slight disruption in our biological clocks when exposed to less sunlight. Serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain may also be affected by sunlight, or the lack of sunlight. Hawaii gets plenty of sunshine year-round, essential for stimulating your body to produce vitamin D, which is good for your bones.
People tend to exercise more in Hawaii too. A recent Gallup well-being poll indicated that more than 60 percent of Hawaiians get regular physical exercise—most likely because it is difficult to sit indoors watching television when those beautiful beaches beckon.
A healthy diet also contributes to longevity and good health. The typical Hawaiian diet includes plenty of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Although, some local Hawaiian dishes may not be considered healthy, they are all very tasty. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain plenty of the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to be healthy. Antioxidants in fresh fruits and berries help to prevent and repair cell damage caused by free radicals in your body. Some fruits that grow in Hawaii include mango, strawberry guava, Java plum and, of course, pineapple. Yams are also a staple of the Hawaiian diet.
You don’t have to live in Hawaii to enjoy the benefits of the Hawaiian lifestyle. Get more physical exercise, especially outdoors and change your diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing your intake of processed foods and meats. Finally, put your life in perspective. It is important to maintain employment and be financially responsible; however, friends, family and community are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Find a balance that allows you time to enjoy your life.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Life Expectancies at Age 65 Highest in Hawaii, Lowest in Mississippi.
New York Times: Hawaii Still the Happiest State, and Only Getting Happier
Healthways: Gallup-Healthways Solutions
Harvard Health Publications: Lack of Light and Seasonal Depression–What’s the Link?
Gallup Wellbeing: State of the States