Want to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier, Life? Visit Costa Rica and Experience Pura Vida!
Ever since I was a small boy, I have yearned to live a longer, healthier, life. I used to dream about having a birthday cake with 100 candles on it (crazy but true!). But, throughout my life, I’ve seemed to fall short time and time again – I suffered crippling anxiety, struggled with my weight, I felt lonely and isolated. All the things I knew would lead me away from my dream! I questioned where I was going wrong? What could I do to increase my chances to live to be a centenarian?
In my quest I came across something called Blue Zones – areas in the world where scientists have determined people to live the longest! Not only that, but they are also healthier and happier people! There are five blue zones in the world, Costa Ricaappealed to me the most – it’s sunny, green, and has incredible beaches!
I left my job (again, crazy but true), booked a one-way ticket to San Jose, packed my bags, and traveled to Costa Rica to embrace “Pura Vida!” – the pure life, a statement said all over Costa Rica – to find out how Ticos (Costa Ricans) live a life that is longer, healthier, and happier.
So, what is the secret recipe for living to 100? Read on to discover the shared characteristics of blue zone areas, and the Costa Rican take on this…
They Walk Slowly, But with Swag!
Living a life filled with natural movement is one of the shared characteristics of blue zones. Of course, there are cars, buses, motorbikes all over Costa Rica, but one thing that clearly stood out for me was that Ticos walk, they walk a lot!
Many of the roads in Costa Rica are rough and bumpy, meaning that walking can sometimes be a little easier than driving. And, as Costa Rica has a tropical climate, people stroll, and with swag! This was very different from my usual mad-dash, ‘get out of my way,’ commute to work.
Walking more slowly allowed me to slow down mentally, offering me a sense of calmness. It’s also great when you travel as you aren’t reliant on working out the local transport routes. From now on I walk with my Tico swag on…walking my way into a longer life!
There’s Yoga Everywhere in Costa Rica!
Yoga is everywhere in Costa Rica, from small bougie studios to high-end eco-resorts. I’d practiced yoga for years and always wanted to take my practice further by taking part in a yoga teacher training. With so many teacher trainings to choose from, I did my research and put the word out on the yoga street!
Blue Osa came up time and time again. Not only because of the high quality of their teaching, but also because of its location – in the remote, and breathtaking area of the Osa Peninsula. When I arrived, I knew I was in the right place to learn how to live a longer life. It’s in the jungle, and steps away from a pristine, secluded beach. With farm-to-table food, morning silence, a meditation temple, I felt I would live to 150 if I stayed here!
This magical place taught me two important things:
How to Destress– Blue Osa yoga teacher training offered me so many tricks and tips I could use in my life back home to cope with the pressures of modern, city living. Chronic stress is directly linked to a shorter life, and I now have effective methods to combat the stress of contemporary living.
Find My Tribe– In a world where we are feeling ever more isolated and disconnected, having a sense of community belonging has been shown to promote longer living. Costa Ricans has a strong sense of community, and I found mine with my fellow teacher trainees. We travelled from all over the world, but we bonded closely through this life-changing time together. I’m still in contact with many of them daily! They are my tribe supporting me to a longer, happier life!
Eat Well, Live Well!
After my time in the Osa Peninsula I travelled all over Costa Rica and ate the best food of my life! Costa Rican food is full of fresh vegetables, rice, beans, herbs and the tastiest, exotic fruit I’ve ever had. My favourite dish is called a Casado – rice, beans, salad, fried sweet plantains (Amazing!), and a protein – either fish, chicken, pork, or beef. It contains everything for a perfect, balanced meal.
Costa Ricans take their time to eat and its always a chance to socialise (with their tribe!) and discuss the day’s events. But, more importantly, they eat by these rules…all of which extend life expectancy:
1. Eat to 80% Full– Ticos take their time to eat and don’t eat until they feel stuffed. I started to chew my food much more throughly, so I noticed when I was starting to feel full. No more food-induced coma for me!
2. Eat Less Meat– I ate meat in Costa Rica, but mostly the main protein component was beans or lentils. Good for the body, good for the soul, and good for the world!
3. Drink Moderately– I come from England where binge drinking is the norm. Ticos drink but they do it in moderation. Scientists have shown that moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day with friends and/or with food.
My time in Costa Rica changed my life forever. I know it has increased my chances of living not only longer, but also happier and healthier.
You don’t need to live in a Blue Zone to live longer, you simply need to embrace these simple principles. Let Blue Osa Travelsarrange your perfect vacation to Costa Rica, and leave with habits that will change your life!
Embrace “Pura Vida!” and drink your way, moderately of course, to 100!