Irishmen shoot documentary in Albert Lea about healthy living

Published 9:00 am Sunday, December 18, 2016

Two Irishmen who visited Albert Lea last week are impressed with the city’s Blue Zones Project.

Eddie Murphy and cameraman David Atkinson visited the community to see how the city has been re-engineered through the program to promote a healthier community lifestyle.

The men shot video of the community during their visit, which will later air in Ireland. They arrived Wednesday and left Friday.

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“We believe there is lessons that can be learned from Albert Lea that can be spread to any community, whether that is in Albert Lea or in Ireland,” Murphy said.

The men participated in a potluck moai, played pickleball, saw sidewalk improvements and pathways, toured Brookside Boathouse, a school, the dog park and St. John’s Lutheran Community.

Murphy cited the nine ideas implemented in the Blue Zones Project in Albert Lea that other communities in the United States and Ireland can incorporate:

Move naturally. The program advocates people live in places where they can walk to the store, to their friend’s house or places of worship to optimize exercise opportunities.

Knowing your sense of purpose, which can add up to seven years of extra life expectancy, according to the project.

Finding a stress-relieving strategy that works for you and finding a routine.

The program advocates not over-eating and eating your smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, then not eating anything for the rest of the day.

Eat a rich array of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Drink wine. The program advocates women limiting their daily intake to one glass, two glasses for men.

Choose to create social circles that promote healthy behaviors.

Belong to a faith-based community. Attending faith-based services four times a month adds four to 14 years of life expectancy, according to the program.

Put your family first. That could include keeping your aging parents and grandparents in or near your home or being in a positive, committed relationship.

Murphy said he was impressed with how the city has progressed with the project, including installing walking paths, building Brookside Boathouse, re-engineering streets and revitalizing Main Street with new businesses.

“We are really impressed with the people,” he said. “To me, what has made this particular journey is the people we have met who are very dedicated to the legacy of Albert Lea as a health community, as a living community, as a shared community.”

The men planned to meet with community members Thursday night. They planned to fly Saturday to Dublin.

Atkinson said he thought the visit was interesting.

“If I were from here, I would be so proud to be from Albert Lea,” he said. “Because what you are doing is incredible, in my opinion. I think I have met people who have talked about health care and healthy living, but I have never seen it put into action and have people be so passionate about it.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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