Exploring the Wellness Benefits of Blue Zones: Okinawa and Singapore

In the wake of the recent hit Netflix series ‘Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones,’ the world has become a little obsessed with the idea of these special regions around the world where residents live the longest.

Among these are two regions in Asia, Okinawa in Japan and, most recently, Singapore, both of which are home to an unusual number of centenarians, aligning with Dan Buettner’s definition of a ‘blue zone’.

If you too are fascinated by what makes up the unique lifestyle that has created such a phenomenon, here is how to experience these destinations and take some tips home.

Okinawa, Japan: Unlocking Longevity

Okinawa’s longevity can be attributed in large part to its clean and nutritionally complex diet.

Traditionally low in calories and fat yet high in carbs, the Okinawa diet is centred around vegetables and soy products alongside occasional, small amounts of noodles, rice, pork, and fish.

Exploring the Wellness Benefits of Blue Zones: Okinawa and Singapore

Travellers looking to sample this iconic cuisine should head to Makishi Markethuri, known as ‘The Kitchen of Okinawa’, where all manner of small businesses serve traditional Okinawan food. For a more unique meal, they can visit Yaeyama Island to try the ‘soba’ noodles made from white wheat that have become renowned in this part of the world.

Although Japan’s treasured Sakura blossoms typically bloom from March and April on the mainland, in Okinawa, winter travellers can enjoy the blossoms earlier than in the rest of the country, in January and February. Okinawa offers the chance to bask in the sun on its various secluded beaches or even head into the jungle for a quiet moment with nature.

Okinawa is also the birthplace of karate, and a pilgrimage to the source is a must for fans and practitioners of the art. Travellers can join classes hosted by numerous karate clubs in the area in order to try out this incredible martial art for themselves and reap the physical benefits.

IRAPH SUI, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Miyako Okinawa

IRAPH SUI, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Miyako Okinawa is located on Irabu Island, which lies 300 kilometres southwest of Okinawa’s main island and is blessed with beautiful nearby coral reefs, primaeval forests, and a rich historic culture. IRAPH SUI faces the clear beautiful sea and provides plenty of space to relax and rejuvenate.

Exploring the Wellness Benefits of Blue Zones: Okinawa and Singapore

In addition to 58 guest rooms, some with private pools, there are luxury facilities such as a gourmet restaurant with panoramic views that serves diverse dishes with fine local ingredients such as wagyu, pork, fresh fish, and delicious vegetables. An hour of free champagne service is on offer to guests every evening from 17:30 to 18:30, which certainly helps create a relaxed environment.

Guests are invited to relax their bodies and souls in the hotel’s relaxing spa or enjoy the swimming pool that seems to melt into the sea and sky. A free bath salt-making activity is held each day to encourage guests to relax in their private baths. A free 30-minute yoga session is available to each guest of the hotel, and yoga classes are on offer throughout the day.

Singapore: Nourishing the Body and Soul

The abundant street food markets in Singapore are an ideal place to enjoy some of the affordable and nourishing food that is at the heart of the diet there. Many of the traditional local dishes from noodle broths to vegetable rolls have proven benefits to our health. Part of the blue zones’ success has been attributed to the sociable nature of the elderly, who eat together in these markets at long tables and create a strong sense of community, avoiding loneliness. Taking a trip to these hubs is an incredible way for travellers to soak in the atmosphere and try out some of the nutritious food for themselves.

Exploring the Wellness Benefits of Blue Zones: Okinawa and Singapore

Singapore’s incredible Botanic Gardens, with 80 hectares of tropical fauna and flora, lakes and forests, is an oasis of nature that is free to explore and is also the destination for elderly residents to exercise together first thing in the morning. Visitors to Singapore can join the locals in walking through this incredible natural parkland. Gardens By The Bay and the Japanese Garden also feature some of the most impressive flora displays in Singapore, with the latter being the world’s only tropical garden designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

The Ritz-Carlton, Singapore

Paving the way for world-class accommodation, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore invites guests to stay in truly spectacular surroundings. With its panoramic views, guests can marvel at the city below.

Celebrated for its authentic Cantonese cuisine, the hotel’s one Michelin-star Summer Pavilion is a must-visit. Exclusive La Mer facials and ESPA body treatments are available at the award-winning Ritz-Carlton Spa, while the hotel’s octagonal bathroom windows offer one of the most indulgent luxuries – a butler-drawn bath set against the stunning city skyline, which is sure to add a cherry on top to any wellness-focused trip.

Exploring the Wellness Benefits of Blue Zones: Okinawa and Singapore

In summary, the fascination with blue zones like Okinawa and Singapore is well-founded, as they offer valuable insights into the art of living a long and healthy life. These destinations not only provide a chance to explore unique lifestyles and dietary habits but also offer world-class accommodations and wellness experiences, making them ideal places to discover the secrets of longevity and well-being while creating lasting memories.

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