Postcard from Crete
Having just spent a week in Crete, it would feel selfish not to share the wonderful, vibrant energy and knowledge I gained from my trip in this fascinating Greek island.
Crete is one of these places in the world where people tend to live healthier and longer lives, so I thought I’d try and uncover some of the Cretan secrets to longevity.
Undoubtedly, living in a warm, sunny environment with plenty of natural vitamin D will enhance energy, gut health, bone density, and mood. The Cretan diet comprises mainly locally grown seasonal fresh produce, little but great quality meat and plenty of home-grown olive oil, which was not a great surprise considering their vibrancy and energy. But was it just the weather and diet?
As I ran around the rugged hills along the creeks every morning, I realized that every single beach was populated from 7am with congregations of older people gently swimming, hovering in deep water chatting… laughing.
Now the Greeks have been experiencing huge economic struggles – but – and this I think is the secret ‘ingredient’ – they rarely struggle on their own. Their community and family support networks are strong and incredibly supportive.
In contrast, recent research in the US found that loneliness was experienced all or most of the time by 10% of people over 65. Loneliness is now considered a reliable predictor of disease and early death.
What have I learnt from this? Don’t isolate yourself, go out to community centers, gyms, church, meet friends or family members. Let’s include the elderly more in our day-to-day lives. We would all benefit from doing all that.
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