Blue Zones And Victory Lap Lifestyle

Most retirement books are focused solely on the financial aspect of retirement but as many of us are now learning there is much more to a successful retirement. The ultimate goal in retirement should be a simplistic, low stress, healthy, fulfilling lifestyle. This will ultimately optimize the quality of our remaining years. Stop believing that the more money you have saved, translates into a better retirement. Life doesn’t work that way. 

BEST BEFORE DATE

Everyone talks about increased longevity but that does not excite me. Stretching my life from 85 to 95 isn’t appealing, if I’m going to spend the bulk of that extra time sitting in a nursing home. My mother lives in a nursing home and I’d rather do my best to live life to the fullest and not end up there. I’m toying with the idea of a Viking funeral where the Contessa pushes me away from shore in my fishing boat and then shoots a flaming arrow into the gas tank. Originally I was going to follow an old Inuit practice of being put out on an ice flow when you no longer contribute to the community, but I gave up on that idea as I really hate the cold.

All joking aside what we should care about is our “best before date”, that period of disability free living, when we can still do the things that we love to do be it golfing, painting, working or whatever. The good news is that we have learned that we can extend the best before date by making positive lifestyle changes. Making positive lifestyle changes is key to having a successful and rewarding Victory Lap.

The Blue Zones

As I researched for my Victory Lap I discovered a book written by Dan Buettner called “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”.   I was excited after reading it because it put the science behind what I believed to be true and I preaching in my Victory Lap Retirement book and blogs. Dan’s work, reinforced by other scientific studies, confirmed that lifestyle, not genes is the chief determinant of how long a person lives.

Dan along with a group from National Geographic scoured the earth to locate places that had not only the highest concentration of centenarians, but also the lowest incidence of age related problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes. They identified five such places in the world they dubbed “‘Blue Zones”. After much research they were able to create a list of common denominators that delivered a long and healthy life. Some of the key factors were regular exercise, nutrition, socialization, and having purpose or as we like to call it, “a good reason to get out of bed in the morning”. By using these people living in Blue Zones as our role models, we can incorporate their core lifestyle practices into our daily habits, odds are we will be living longer and healthier lives.

Aging Well Is A Conscious Choice

A fundamental premise of Victory Lap is that work, paid or unpaid can deliver on a number of Blue Zone core lifestyle practices. There are many benefits derived from continuing to work, it lowers stress, keeps you mentally fit by solving problems and learning new things. It forces you to get off the couch and hopefully gets you physically fit. Provides the opportunity to socialize. Gives you purpose and a good reason to get out of bed in the morning, finally added income lessens the risk of running out of money in retirement.

Like most things in life that are worthwhile planning is important. Take time to think about and plan this retirement thing out. Traditional full-stop retirement in an antiquated concept and not the best way to go. Hopefully people are starting to understand that they need to stop spending so much time worrying about accumulating a giant nest egg, causing them to miss out on living a great life now and in the future. Instead focus your efforts on designing your Victory Lap Lifestyle that makes financial sense but also optimizes the overall quality of our remaining years. I don’t want to be the one to break it to you, but… sitting on a beach all day drinking Pina Coladas just isn’t going to do it for you after a week or two, OK maybe three. Think about it!

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6 thoughts on “Blue Zones And Victory Lap Lifestyle

  1. Danielle Stockley Reply

    I read your Blog each time searching for verification of being healthy and active. You always convey that message.
    I ride a Harley davidson and have just purchased a new motorcycle. Each class of Bike takes me into different groups of people and gatherings.
    Aim for the highest height of retirement with a healthy mind, body and activities to suit your needs.
    We are either Leaders of Followers.. That can say a lot …

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      I sometimes dream about learning to ride a bike and taking it up north for a long ride on the back roads. Who knows maybe one day. I was down in Napa Valley a few years ago and saw a beautiful bike. Can’t seem to get that picture out of my mind! I’m planning something big for when I turn 65 in 3 years. If it comes together it will be a beaut so stay tuned.Excitement or boredom it’s a personal choice.

  2. Kathe Kline Reply

    You are so right about looking at lifestyle! This is a key issue in our grown up years that most people don’t even give a second thought to.

    I do believe that leading a stress reduced life, and that having a purpose is so very important to extending that “best before date” that you discuss.

    I created The Rock Your Retirement Show (http://RockYourRetirement.com) to help with some of the stress and lifestyle issues.

    This is a podcast that discusses the grown-up lifestyle including:
    Social, Family & Sandwich Generation Issues
    Adventure & Travel
    Volunteer & Philanthropy
    Spirit & Soul,
    and even (gasp) Sex.

    Keeping these areas in mind will help extend your “best before date”!

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Looks like we are on the same page and I will be checking out your website.

  3. Kathe Kline Reply

    That’s awesome Mike! And as an aside, Henry Shapiro, who recently joined my show, has released two episodes on motorcycle riding. Although I personally didn’t do those shows, you might find it interesting. (Henry and his guests are in Australia).

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Kathe for the heads up. I will check it out as I’m planning on visiting Australia in the next couple of years. Plan to spend some time in a shark cage hopefully to see a Great White one of my must do’s. I can still hear the soundtrack from Jaws when I think about it. It makes sense to add a little motorcycle riding while I’m there.

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