Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”
Our Bible verse today: “Here I am today, 85 years old. I am as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.” Joshua 14:11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Live longer and live better.”
Even though I have used Joshua 14:11 and the example of my Bible hero Caleb earlier in the month, I want to end the month with it too because I love the picture of eighty-five year old Caleb just full of energy and spunk, embracing life and living it fully.
When we think about taking good care of ourselves the object is not just to add years to our life, but to add life to our years. You want to live long, but you also want to live well. In his book “Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”, Dan Buettner studied the habits of people in eight regions around the world where it is common for people to live to 100 or more. Here are the nine habits he discovered that they all seemed to have in common and which we can adopt too:
Remain active. The more active you are the healthier you will be.
Cut calories by 20 percent. Healthy people don’t overeat. Being overweight is hard on the body. Consuming too many calories makes every body system work harder. Eat enough so you are no longer hungry and then stop.
Avoid processed foods and limit your intake of meat. Natural foods, especially vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains, are the healthiest foods for you.
Drink red wine. It’s not my intent to promote the use of alcohol here. I’m just reporting to you what Dan discovered in his research. People in the Blue Zones tended to have one or two glasses of red wine a day. Evidently it helps to reduce stress and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Have a clear purpose in life. People who are happy and healthy tend to have a reason for getting out of bed in the morning. They have a purpose in life that they enjoy and which they look forward to.
Be intentional about relaxing. People who are happy and healthy, and who tend to live long, are active and they have a clear purpose in life, but they also know how to rest, relax, and have fun.
Have a strong faith and be part of a spiritual community. Those who live long and well tend to have a strong faith in God and they are active in a faith community.
Make family and friends a priority. Those who maintain close relationships with people they love and care about tend to be happier, healthier, and live longer.
Associate with others who share your commitment to taking care of yourself. It is human nature that over time we become like those we associate with. Those who are happy, healthy, and living long tend to surround themselves with others who are happy, healthy, and living long.
The people in Dan’s study had mastered the art of living long and living well. It’s true that someday we will all die. Nobody lives forever. But there’s a choice in life that we’re all faced with: you can live a shorter life with lots of sickness and disability, or you can live a longer life with the fewest bad years possible. To a large degree that will be determined by the lifestyle choices you make.
I’ll end our study this month by paraphrasing a word of blessing spoken by that iconic Vulcan Mr. Spock from Star Trek: “May you live long and prosper”.