The world’s longest-living people don’t pump iron, run marathons, or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving naturally without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t rely on mechanical conveniences for house and yard work. Blue Zones Project® works with community and organization leaders to reshape surroundings so people move more without even thinking about it. We harness the power of communities to encourage activity and connection, forming walking groups at worksites, schools, and other local organizations to get people moving on a regular basis. With Blue Zones Project best practices, activity becomes second nature—and part of the culture of well-being.
What is a Moai?
One of Okinawa’s longevity traditions is social support groups that start in childhood and extend into the 100s. The term “Moai®” (pronounced “mo eye”) originated hundreds of years ago as a kind of financial support system for a village. Today, the idea has expanded to become more of a social support network, a cultural tradition for built-in companionship. In small neighborhoods across Okinawa, friends “meet for a common purpose”—sometimes daily and sometimes a couple days a week—to gossip, experience life, and to share advice and even financial assistance when needed. They call these groups their Moai.