The Secrets to Enjoying a Long Life in Spain
We are always delighted to note that Spain ranks highly in several aspects of the good life. Now BBC Travel has referred to the 2017 World Happiness Report to delve into another key index of global contentment – how long we live – and Spain is up there again.
“Explorers throughout history have searched for the legendary fountain of youth,” noted the BBC. “And while the elusive fountain has yet to be found, certain places across the world have emerged as centres where people live substantially longer than the worldwide average (around 71 years), and each has its own secret source of vitality. We talked to residents in some of the countries where people live the longest, as ranked by the 2017 World Happiness Report, to uncover the reasons why these places seem to nurture longevity.”
According to the BBC, “The Mediterranean diet, rich in heart-healthy olive oil, vegetables and wine, has long contributed to Spain’s long-lived population (averaging 82.8).” Apparently, however, Spain also has another longevity secret up its sleeve: the siesta.
The article quoted Gray Line tour guide Miquel Ángel Diez I Besora, who observed, “People think all the Spaniards are doing la siesta
when the shops are closed between 2.00 and 5.00, but it is simply how the working shift is organised. If you have a continuous shift and just a half an hour break for lunch, then you eat a quick takeaway. On the contrary, if you are forced to stop for two or three hours, then you go home or go to a restaurant where you can sit down, eat two courses and dessert, and have time enough to digest well, it’s going to be healthier than a takeaway. The density of Spanish cities also gets people moving more, since shops and restaurants all tend to be within walking distance of most people’s residences.”
If longevity is one of Spain’s great strengths, and one of the main attractions for foreigners thinking about moving and buying a new home on the southern Mediterranean coast (where the lifestyle is especially conducive to long and healthy lives), it also shines brightly when it comes to other major international yardsticks.
It has, for example, maintained its position atop the World Economic Forum’s latest authoritative travel and tourism competitiveness index. According to the forum’s biennial report, “Spain's success can be attributed to its unique offer of both cultural (second in this sub-index) and natural (ninth) resources, combined with sound tourism service infrastructure (second), air transport connectivity (ninth) and strong policy support (fifth).”
Over the past 11 years, the forum has engaged leaders in travel and tourism to carry out an in-depth analysis of 136 economies across the world. The Index measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.
The theme of this latest edition, “Paving the Way for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Future”, is said to reflect “the increasing focus on ensuring the industry’s sustained growth in an uncertain security environment while preserving the natural environment and local communities on which it so richly depends”.
The other top-10 countries (in order) are: France, Germany, Japan, UK, US, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland.
Banderas and The Kiss
One person who has first-hand knowledge of the benefits of living on the Costa del Sol is Antonio Banderas, who suffered a heart attack earlier this year and has been spending extended periods convalescing at his Málaga penthouse and Marbella villa. The Hollywood star was most recently on the Coast as host of the annual Starlite Gala, which raises funds for children-based charities.
One of the main sources of funds is an auction held during the gala evening, and (unsurprisingly) there was some eager bidding for a kiss from Banderas. The winner was an unidentified sheik, who generously decided that the person enjoying his benevolence should be the actor’s own girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel. The pair duly obliged.
For those seeking happiness and longevity in Marbella, this villa in the highly coveted Nueva Andalucía area will certainly fit the bill – while being great value at €2,495,000.
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