by Jennifer M. Bobbitt
What are the Blue Zones? The term “Blue Zone” comes from Dan Buettner, author and National Geographic Fellow, who researches areas of the world where people live long healthy lives. His curiosity with those living into their 100’s led to the discovery of common themes in areas with high numbers of centenarians. Buettner and his team identified places in the world where there are high concentrations of those living over 100 and labeled them “Blue Zones.” What is it about those areas that encourage longevity, and why are we trying to recreate it in our Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince) offices?
“The Power 9” The research uncovered that the “secrets” to longevity aren’t secrets at all but simple, easy to obtain, and maintain lifestyle choices that, when put into action, can benefit people for a lifetime. Buettner brands the everyday lifestyle choices common among the Blue Zone regions as the “The Power 9”.
Wellogy thought it would be interesting to incorporate “The Power 9” into our office culture. Throughout the evolution of our firm, we’ve been exploring how to make a lasting impact and ignite change in health and wellness by rethinking the way we design communities, buildings, and homes. Our journey started when our design experience collided with our passion, and we discovered our purpose- To Create Places of Well Bing to Enrich People’s Lives. We accomplish this by incorporating intentionally designed elements that help communities thrive and proposer- a concept we call Healthy Urbanism™. To thoroughly explore our purpose, we decided to make healthy changes and support opportunities to learn more in the place where we spend our days- at work.
Following the Power 9 areas for improvement, we asked everyone to participate by taking a topic to research and present on at our weekly staff meeting. The presentations have been very informative, interactive, and all very unique.
Stretch time and standing desks in action in our Denver, CO office. Below: Wellogy President and Founding Principal, Buck Wince provides examples of office stretching.
Additionally, we asked a sample group from each office to take the Blue Zone True Vitality Test. According to the Blue Zone website, “calculates your life expectancy and how long you’ll stay healthy.” We also took the Blue Zone True Happiness Test “to improve your environment and maximize happiness.” The tests are based on leading scientific research and make recommendations to improve your well-being. We plan to retake the test at the end of our nine-week challenge to determine if we’ve improved our scores. More important than the actual score, though, is the impact the changes are having on our day to day wellness. We’ve also explored the “The Blue Zone Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100” cookbook and shared recipes while encouraging healthy eating at our office Blue Zone breakfast.
Our monthly potluck/ cookouts focus on fresh and healthy foods.
From walking meetings, standing desks, stretching breaks, healthy snack options, and increased awareness of the benefits of plant-based diets, we have all learned something that we have taken home and incorporated into our daily lives. While we may not all live to be 100, working together to make changes to be better and create a healthier way of life for the next generation, benefits us all in hundreds of ways.