Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't just take my word for it...

This is a great video that was submitted with the application for Grinnell's Blue Zones Project.  It was produced in collaboration with several community businesses and organizations.
A special thanks to:
Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation
City of Grinnell
Drake Community Library
Grinnell Chamber of Commerce
Grinnell College
Grinnell High School
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company
Grinnell Regional Medical Center
Imagine Grinnell

What's a "Blue Zone" anyway?

Guest Blogger: Cory Jackson, manager, Grinnell Regional Wellness and Fitness and co-leader of Grinnell's Blue Zones Project

Have you registered your support of Grinnell's Blue Zones Project?
So, what is all the talk about "Blue Zones" anyway?
Imagine Grinnell as a community where:
  • People live well and healthy into their nineties and beyond...
  • Residents choose to move naturally using bicycles or walking more often...
  • Residents know their purpose, why they wake up in the morning...
  • Vegetable gardening is a "growing" pastime...
  • Friends regularly meet in walking groups...
  • Laughter is often heard...
  • A sense of belonging is a commonly held feeling...
"The Blue Zones" is a book written by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic researcher who studied communities all over the world to find those places where residents lived well into their nineties and even longer. Buettner summarized his findings and created the Power 9, a pyramid of nine different small changes in individual lifestyle habits that have a big impact on a community. Grinnell's Drake Community Library has this book in its collection and it can be checked out.

In coordination with Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative, Wellmark and Healthways have teamed up to find those communities in Iowa that also have the traits of these "blue zones." Through an intensive process, Wellmark and Healthways will select three Iowa communities to be designated as Blue Zones.

Right now, 54 Iowa communities, including Grinnell, have submitted a formal application. On February 10, Wellmark and Healthways will announce the 10 communities selected to move on to the next level of the competition, a site visit by the selection committee.

Being an official blue zone brings a wealth of resources to take communities to the next level in their efforts for greater happiness, health, and wellness. The application process has been a great learning experience. We have built a proposal that is collaborative, sustainable, and inclusive. We are already doing great things in Grinnell. We want to focus on making this quality of life truly accessible for all residents. Becoming a Blue Zones community would take us to the next level through greater community involvement and working together to make changes in our community to make it easier for residents to live healthier, happier lives. We need residents to register their support and get involved. We are currently ranked at number 14 in the state for citizen support and our goal is to be in the top ten.  Every vote counts!!