[an error occurred while processing this directive][an error occurred while processing this directive]

National Geographic Magazine

   Africa Map Portal
Live WildCam
In the News: Killer Flu


   Quest for
Okinawa, Japan
You Direct the Team!  Cast your vote today!
Expedition Calendar

Voting results for
November 4, 2005

Do yoga with an 84-year-old
47% with 596 votes

Get cooking lessons from a chef
40% with 505 votes

Interview a centenarian
14% with 172 votes

Blue Zones
Read dispatches from Blue Zones, our team of longevity experts.

*The expedition runs on weekdays only. The team will not post new voting ballots and dispatches on weekends.

Vote Now Daily Photo & Video Gallery Map Update Resources Home Dispatches
Photo & Video Gallery: November 4, 2005

Yesterday's winning vote sent us to do yoga with 84-year-old Fumiyasu Yamakawa. View video and photos of him in action, below. Then cast your vote to pick the next destination, and return tomorrow for new postings.
Click thumb- nails below to view video and photos.


Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

   Flash 6 required to view video.
Video Transcript

Dan Buettner, Expedition Leader: I swear I did not let him beat me. This 84-year-old guy is twice my age, but strong as a bull.

Here, Okinawn people live longer, but they also live better. They have powerful lessons to teach us about the optimal level of activity.

If I did that, they'd need a five-gallon bucket to pick me up.

Today we had a chance to meet Fumiyasu, the man who graced the cover of this month's National Geographic. He took me through his exercise regimen. You know what is most amazing, he was far more limber than I am. I can beat him in a foot race, though. But then again, I am 50 years younger than he is.

This was beginning to look a lot like the regimen of an extreme American athlete, until we started the meditation. We thought about every single body part, and then we stood on our heads.

I'm not going to be able to hold this. (laughter)

Once again, he beat me. But what I wouldn't give to be 84 and be like him.

I asked him about his secrets of longevity. He surprised me by not even talking about physical fitness.

Fumiyasu: Vitamin S

Dan: What is vitamin S?

Fumiyasu: Smile. The best medicine

Dan: Vitamin S.

Even though Fumiyasu represents a paradigm of physical fitness, the lessons Okinawans can teach us about aging, well probably looks more like what's going on behind us. It turns out as we age, strength, balance, and flexibility are more important than winning races. If you're over 50 years old and you break your hip, you have a 25 percent chance of dying within a year

Here in Okinawa, they have about half the rate of broken hips that we do in America. Why is that? Okinawans teach us that it's the simple things that get us to a healthy old age. Things like gardening, getting up and down off the floor, or walking 30 or 40 minutes a day. Americans tend to do physical activities in big bursts. We go to the health club, we do triathlons. But that's not the point. The point is to make it to the finish line, not to get their first.



E-mail this page to a friend. Credits