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Live More Good Years

Want to live longer — and healthier? These secrets from a sleepy Greek island could show you the way

Live Like an Ikarian


Nap daily
: Ikarian villages are ghost towns during the afternoon siesta, and science shows that a regular 30-minute nap decreases the risk of heart attack.

Walk where you're going:
Mountainous terrain and a practice of walking for transport mean that every trip out of the house is a mini workout.

Phone a friend: With the island's rugged terrain, family and village support have been key to survival. Strong social connections are proven to lower depression, mortality, and even weight.

Some combination of [the Ikarians'] habits is helping them live significantly longer than Americans, who live on average to age 78.

Get religion: Ikarians observe Greek Orthodox rituals, and regular attendance at religious services (of any kind ) has been linked to longer life spans.

Throw out your watch: Ikarians don't worry about time. Work gets done when it gets done. This attitude lowers stress, which reduces the risk of everything from arthritis to wrinkles

Do Ikarians possess the true secret to longevity? Well, some combination of their habits is helping them live significantly longer than Americans, who live on average to age 78. We can't guarantee that Ikarian wisdom will help you live to 100. But if Yiannis Karimalis's example is any indicator, it may help you outlive your doctor.

Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest (National Geographic, 2008).

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