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Trina Justman Reichert

Engagement Lead

When out in public and I chat about Blue Zones Project, I sometimes hear, “Do you really want to live to be 100?” I have experience with that line of thought. When I was a teenager, I thought the worst thing in the world to be was 40. I told everyone that if I made it to be that old, I would climb in a barrel and toss myself over Niagara Falls.

Now, as I approach my 43rd birthday, I am happy to report that it truly is my goal to live to be a healthy 100-years-old. And studies indicate that the desire to do so is the first step in achieving it.

I seem to have a deeper appreciation for even the “little” things as I get older. Have you experienced that awareness as well? There is research that supports this. Lindsay Holmes, author of the 2018 article “This is the Age You’re Happiest and Most Self-Confident” states, “Your brain might be wired for fewer negative emotional responses as you age. Brain imaging research published in 2004 found that older individuals displayed reduced activity in their amygdala, the area of the brain associated with stress and emotional responses.”

Living to be 100, or close to it, doesn’t require access to the best doctors or medical care in the world. In fact, the choices that will aid our journey are things that most of us can do without a lot of effort. However, with our busy schedules and quest for convenience and ease in modern America, it does take some intentional behavioral shifts. Blue Zones Project recommends actions like moving more, adding vegetables, fruits and whole grains to our diets, spending more time with people face to face, taking time to de-stress, and knowing your purpose. Simply stated, it’s taking a “back to basics” approach in our daily lives. Achieving longevity requires a little thought, but the payoff can be more quality time and good health to enjoy the things and people you love.

We know that if the above-mentioned choices are simple and accessible in our everyday environments, the habits are easier to develop. That is one of the great things about Blue Zones Project. We’re making strides to impact the areas where you spend the most time. Blue Zones Project helps make the healthy choice the easy choice.

I’m not naive to the fact that with age comes a whole new set of challenges. I understand that life inevitably has very real moments of extreme loss. With a support network, or Moai as the Okinawans call it, you will be surrounded by people who will lift you up when those tough times come.

“If you live in preparation to be on the earth for a hundred and twenty years, no matter how much time you have left, it will be healthier,” said Dr. Jen Espenschied, Beaver Dam chiropractor, on May 9 via social media. We couldn’t agree more.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-392-9408, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com or visit bluezonesproject.com.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-392-9408, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com or visit bluezonesproject.com.

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