Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Ikaria, Greece: Isle Of World’s Ageless Elderly
Ikaria, Greece: Isle Of World’s Ageless Elderly PDF Print E-mail

If traveling to Greece is on your senior-gotta-see bucket list, you may want to schedule a stop on the island of Ikaria. According to legend, it may contain the secret of long life. If you learn about it and follow the laid-back lifestyle, maybe you won’t live as long as old Methuselah did, but you could add another decade or two to your life.

Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, named for the unfortunate lad, Icarus. He was the world’s first solo flyer, but got too close to the sun and ended up in the ocean. While it has not been touted as the ideal vacation spot, the stories of the island and its uniquely healthy, long-living residents have been published in various magazines and seen on TV reports.

The statistics tell the story that the average age span is in the upper 80s, with a third of the residents making it to age 90. Heart disease, elderly dimentia and diabetes are as fewer as one-half the rates in the United States. Why is this little island so unique in longevity?

Of course, much of it is that the residents live very tranquil, small-town lives, spending most of their time working and walking outdoors. They eat locally-caught, fresh fish as the only non-vegetable part of their diets, along with local goat’s milk.

There are scheduled flights and ferries from the Greek capital of Athens, about 140 miles away. The tourist business on Ikaria is very low key, but there are hotels, restaurants and other facilities for visitors. An example of the laid-back attitudes on Ikaria is the annual July chess tournament. While elsewhere in the world, athletes are jumping and running, Ikarian competitors are slowly contemplating their next move. For more information, go to www.island-ikaria.com

Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.