Ensuring both our bodies and minds are healthy and happy all the times is no easy task. Although we all have our own daily lives and routines to be preoccupied with, finding the motivation and time to prioritise our wellbeing even for a small fraction of our day can sometimes feel like a chore. Dedicating time towards intense workouts or lengthy mealtime preps isn’t for everyone – so why not find a way to embed some small, healthy changes into your daily routine without having to amend your entire schedule?
This is where blue zoning comes into play. Put simply, the idea of ‘blue zoning’ focuses on helping individuals realise their full potential and understand which aspects of their life they could make some small changes to in order to improve the health of their body and mind. This is a practice used by many individuals around the world to help cement a more persistently healthy state of body and mind – but without having to revolve their entire schedule around it.
This concept may be something unheard of for many, so learning some minor ways you can blue zone your home could be invaluable when it comes to supporting your physical and mental wellbeing. To understand just how beneficial blue zoning can be, it’s found that ‘blue zone’ communities around the world, including Icaria in Greece and Okinawa in Japan, have seen people live into their 100s. These areas have embedded blue zone techniques as part of their everyday life.
With this said, we discuss how blue zoning your home can help emulate a healthier daily life.
Blue zoning your home: some small changes
Blue zoning your home isn’t as difficult as you may think – in fact, it is a relatively easy concept to implement. By making some simple changes to daily household chores and tasks, you can make some positive changes to your body and mind without even realising it! Chores such as making the bed, taking out the bins, unloading the washing machine, and even hoovering can be optimised to add a blue-zone-style spin to your household activities – and increase the number of steps you take per day too.
In relation to this, there are many health benefits attached to increasing your steps through walking. Not only does it help you maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps prevent numerous health conditions too, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. As for the mental health benefits walking entails, it helps improve your mood, decreases levels of stress, and helps prevent feelings of depression.
With this in mind, blue zoning your life and the daily chores it involves is an effective way to increase your daily steps and be a blessing to your overall wellbeing.
Chore 1: making the bed
Although this isn’t everyone’s favourite chore to do, perhaps blue zoning the way in which you make your bed will give it the extra purpose it needs to motivate you to do so.
By now we all know that carrying all our bed sheets, pillowcases, extra blankets, etc. can equate to quite a hefty weight to carry. Rather than attempting to walk up the stairs with all your fresh bedding at once, carry smaller amounts up at a time. By doing this, there is less strain being forced upon your back and arms. Not only that, but it will also help increase your daily steps too. A recent survey finds that out of a total of 600 participants, those between the ages of 18-24 years old take less than 25 steps when making their bed, with the 55+ age category taking on average 40 steps while doing this chore – this being only a minute contribution to the desired target of 10,000 steps a day! So, by breaking up the process of moving bedding from the washing line to your bedroom could see you add substantially to your daily steps while adapting to a blue zone way of living.
As for the actual making of your bed, by walking around the other side of it when stretching the bed sheet over the corners or organising the pillow display, you can add to your steps total even more!
Chore 2: making a brew
Probably one of the biggest differences between a blue zone lifestyle and a one that isn’t is the convenience of it all. The idea of blue zoning is to eliminate those lazy habits that you do simply out of ease. What we don’t realise is, by cutting small corners such as placing the kettle right beside the pot of tea bags, or putting the sugar in the cupboard next to the fridge, we have become too reliant on convenience that it has affected our daily movement – something that without noticing, can affect our physical and mental health.
With regards to this, a recent survey finds that out of 600 participants, those between the ages of 35-44 take only an average number of 17 steps while making a cup of tea, with the 25-34 age group taking a slightly higher amount of 32 steps – definitely something that could do with a blue zone improvement.
So, how should you do this? Making some small amends to the layout of your brew-making facilities is a great way to improve your movement while doing another household task. For example, you could decide to place the sugar at the other end of the kitchen from the fridge the milk is in, or your work station could be different to the one where your kettle is placed – the choice is yours. However you choose to alter your tea making routine, make sure it focuses on making your home slightly more de-convenient to encourage movement.
Chore 3: taking out the bins
Even the way in which you take out your bins can contribute yet another way to blue zoning your life – with the extra benefit of spending more time outside too. Although a recent survey reveals that this chore equates to slightly more steps people take than the likes of making a cup of tea, there is always room for improvement. It’s found that out of 600 individuals, the 55 and above age category take on average 120 steps while taking out the rubbish, with the 35-44 age category taking only 75 steps.
So, rather than cutting corners and calculating the quickest way to move your bin from A to B, or wheeling two bins out at once, or placing the bin to the closest place you could possibly leave it for the waste collector to pick up, go the extra lengths to de-convenience this process. For example, walk the longest route you can calculate when wheeling your bin, make separate trips if there is more than one bin needed, and leave in a location that is more convenient for the waste collector, rather than yourself!
Chore 4: unloading the washing machine
Similar to the blue zoning advice given about making your bed, unloading your washing is yet another household chore that can play advocate to your mental and physical wellbeing. Although this is a chore that the majority of people hate to have waiting for them when they return home from work, it can’t be avoided – so you might as well benefit your health in the process!
As previously stated, carrying smaller amounts of clothing from one room to another will prevent the strenuous activity that comes with carrying an entire household’s worth of washing up the stairs. Not only that, several trips to and from the washing machine will add to your daily steps target. As for the sorting and organisation of your household’s washing, it’s found that doing this ultimately promotes a positive mental attitude, helping you place a greater focus on the other aspects of your life.
So, before sighing at the huge pile of washing that lies in front of you, divide it between shirts, trousers, socks, even bandeau bikinis if you have that many, and tidy away your washing stress-free.
Chore 5: hoovering
This is one chore in particular that can help add drastically to your daily steps. For decades now, the commercialisation of housework has played advocate to the ease and convenience of hoovering. While there are many time-efficient benefits to this, one downside is that it has made us reliant upon technology more so than what is needed. A recent survey finds that out of a total of 600 participants, the 18-24 year-old age category take on average 71 steps while cleaning, falling far behind the 55+ categories average of 320 steps – perhaps taking a note from the older generation’s book could help us out.
Before taking the hoover out the cupboard as soon as you see a crumb on the floor, decide whether a dustpan and brush would be a better alternative. By doing this, you’re increasing the level of movement in your arms as well as your feet. As for when your moving from room to room hoovering, rather than seeing how far the wire can stretch from the socket, go back, remove it, and plug it in elsewhere. Even smaller things, such as taking more steps while hoovering as oppose to stretching your arm forward to reach all the corners, are great ways to add an extra step – or a few hundred!
These are only some of the abundant number of ways you can begin to blue zone your life. Since the idea of blue zoning is to incorporate more movement and physical activity as part of your day to day routine, there are opportunities to do this wherever you look. So, how many steps are you trying to achieve? The competition is on!