If you want to live long go to Andorra
4th May 2009
Or any mountains for that matter. Andorrans live longer than anyone else on earth and in general mountain people have a greater life expectancy.
The tiny principality up in the Pyrenees mountain range offers people a restful, healthy and stress free life according to the latest figures from the US Census Department.
The average Andorran lives till 82 and a half, the longest lifespan on earth.
Andorra is a favourite place of PlanetSKI with superb, often under-rated skiing, and a range of summer activities including walking, cycling, canyoning, climbing and a host of other outdoor activities.
The current “photos of the week” at the bottom of the home page feature a series of photos showing Andorra in the summer. It’s quite a place.
We have spent many seasons there – both summer and winter.The mountain scenery is spectacular too and, quite simply, good for the soul.
“Andorra is a beautiful country which is stress-free and relaxing and the lifestyle is so healthy with so much fresh air. It has certainly helped me reach my ripe old age,” 89-year old Maria Tarkowska told PlanetSKI. She has lived in the Principality for 35 years but has recently returned to England to be nearer to her children and grand-children. “The summer is fantastic for walking and picnics and everyone is so polite and friendly. My years in Andorra have wonderful memories.”
There also hasn’t been a war there for over 700 years, which may have helped matters.
Diet seems to play a role in keeping Andorrans alive and healthy.There is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and they are influenced by the Mediterranean diet from neighbouring Spain.
However, one of the most profitable crops grown in the country is tobacco and the shops are full of cheap cigarettes so it is perhaps not quite as healthy as it could be.
Maybe though it’s just the foreigners that buy the fags.
Also some elderly Andorrans we have spoken to complain that the younger generation spend too much time on their computers and have a fondness for fast food.
Another mountain country, Switzerland, comes in at a healthy number 9 in the life expectancy charts. People there can expect to live to 80 years and 10 months.
At 74-years old Hubert Cretton is one of the oldest mountain guides still working full-time in Switzerland.“I think living where you are happy helps, looking at the nature and being positive about life, plus eating healthy food (most of the time) vegetables, fruit, fish and lean meat, in normal size portions. Also red wine is a must,” he tells us with a boyish twinkle in his eye.
“The genes we’re born with may give us a few years longer than others perhaps, but exercise and sports are the best I think. A healthy body & mind can go a long way and if possible don’t let big problems and/or people spoil your life.”
Here at PlanetSKI we went heli-sking with Hubert a couple of years ago and he was one of the most inspirational characters we have met round the mountains.
We reckon if you live your life like he says above then you won’t go far wrong.
Recently there was a story on the BBC about how people in remote parts of the French Pyrenees are untouched and unworried by the global economic downturn that seems to be worrying everyone else.
So it is quite clear – if you want to live longer then move to the mountains and chill out.
For the Spirit of the mountains.
WORLD LIFE EXPECTANCY
Highest 10 (average life span)
Andorra ———————— 82.5 years
Japan —————————82.1 years
San Marino ——————- 82 years
Singapore ——————— 82 years
Australia ———————– 81.6 years
Canada ————————-81.2 years
France ————————–81 years
Sweden ————————-80.9 years
Switzerland ——————–80.8 years
Iceland ————————- 80.7 years
Lowest 10 (average life span)
Central African Republic—44.5 years
Malawi ————————-43.8 years
Djibouti ————————43.4 years
Liberia ————————-41.8 years
Mozambique—————– 41.2 years
Sierra Leone—————– 41.2 years
Lesotho———————— 40.4 years
Zambia————————- 38.6 years
Angola————————– 38.2 years
Swaziland———————- 31.9 years
Source: World Health Organization