It鈥檚 always fascinating to take a peek into how people around the world live differently, whether it鈥檚 how they work, sleep, or even date. Cultural habits and patterns also contribute to how healthy people are in various countries, cities, and societies, with some of the most successful tactics making their way into the mainstream (like the Mediterranean diet and Ayurvedic eating plans). We caught up with healthy lifestyle expert, Emmy-winning TV producer, and author of America鈥檚 longest-running syndicated fitness column Marilynn Preston, who swears by the lifestyle lessons she learned in Greece. Read on for the details, plus her tips for how you can incorporate some of her observations into your daily grind.

4 Healthy Habits to Adopt from the Island of Ikaria

Preston spends time in a small Greek community two times per year, and she explained to us why Ikaria is one of the healthiest places in the world. The island 鈥 one of the world-famous Blue Zones 鈥 boasts residents who regularly live well into their 90s. Even more, Preston tells us that Ikarians are energetic and happy right up to the end, with low rates of diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. 鈥淚t鈥檚 much more about their lifestyle than their genes,鈥 Preston asserts. Here are four ways she believes anyone can incorporate some of the Ikarians鈥 ultra-healthy habits.

A woman drinks tea with her breakfast overlooking a Greek town

1. Slow down. 鈥淭o live longer, slow down,鈥 encourages Preston. 鈥淥n Ikaria, watches are as useless as speed bumps!鈥 She tells us that locals live however they like, on their own time and at a comfortable pace 鈥 working and unwinding whenever they feel like it. 鈥淚 learned that on my first visit there, having lunch with friends at a wonderful little taverna in the port of Agios Kirikos. We all ordered Greek salads. Some of us are still waiting,鈥 she jokes. To do the same, Preston suggests trying your best to embrace a concept she calls 鈥渟low tourism鈥: 鈥淩emove your wrist watch. Hide your phone. Whoever you go, pay attention to details: the special sweetness of the honey; the pleasure of a fine wine; how it feels to simply relax under a 500-year old oak tree. Let your mantra be the Greek expression 鈥sigasiga,鈥 which means 鈥榮lowly, slowly.鈥欌

2. Eat your greens (and lots of them). Can you believe that more than 150 varieties of wild greens grow on this Greek island? Preston credits their antioxidants as a health benefit, telling us that Ikarians enjoy their greens with a splash of olive oil or in salads and pies. Yummy!

3. Learn to love tea. Coffee may bring health benefits, but Preston says that Ikarians love of tea contributes to their superb health. 鈥淚karians drink endless cups of tea made from wild mint, chamomile, and other local herbs high in compounds that significantly lower blood pressure and decrease their risk of heart disease and dementia.鈥 Try kicking off your day with a cup, treating yourself to a sweet afternoon pick-me up, or unwinding with a type of tea that鈥檒l promote relaxation before you head to bed.

4. Move more. There鈥檚 no need for SoulCycle, Barry鈥檚 Bootcamp, or Crossfit in Ikaria, because locals reap some of the same benefits by simply going about their regular routines! 鈥淢any people on the island of Ikaria live in mountain villages that require vigorous walking,鈥 Preston observes. 鈥淭hey also keep terraced gardens, take care of animals, and get lots of exercise every day 鈥 without thinking about it.鈥

3 Fun and Healthy Activities to Do on the Island of聽Ikaria

If you鈥檙e lucky enough to visit one of Preston鈥檚 favorite places, the magical island of Ikaria, she suggests indulging in these activities. You鈥檒l love experiencing local culture and will leave feeling happier and healthier than ever.

A seaside town on the Greek island of Ikaria

1. Attend a feel-good festival. 鈥淭he village feasts are called panygiria, and Ikaria is world-famous for their unforgettable all-night singing and dancing celebrations of the saints, the Virgin Mary, and the love and gratitude they feel in their lives,鈥 Preston shares. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e lucky to get to one sometime, tread lightly, and act kindly. These aren鈥檛 meant to be drunken brawls!鈥 Preston tells us that Ikaria is a traditional Greek island with many non-traditional elements. You can expect to find that women are seen as equals, social relationships mean everything, and some villages operate at night so residents can sleep in the day. 鈥淚karians really know how to party!鈥 Preston gushes. 鈥淐ome for the dusk-to-dawn dancing, the singing, and the marvelous island food, including marinated goat, herb-roasted potatoes, just-picked field greens (always!), and the legendary local red wine. It鈥檚 16 percent proof, but you won鈥檛 feel like counting after the first glass.鈥 Opa!

2. Explore the great outdoors. 鈥淛ust this year, CNN named Ikaria the number-one nature island in all of Greece,鈥 Preston notes. 鈥淔or such a small place (the island is only 99 square miles), the diversity is incredible.鈥 She says you can expect to find beautiful rivers and lakes, mountains and forests, and waterfalls and gorges along miles of unspoiled trails. 鈥淵ou鈥檒l need a detailed map, so look for the hiking guide The Round of Races on Foot as soon as you arrive,鈥 Preston advises, 鈥渁nd wear strong enough shoes to take the ups and downs of the trail.鈥 Prefer a more organized adventure? 鈥淰isit discoverikaria.com for a great selection of programs that include hiking, biking, climbing, surfing, and beach-hopping by boat.鈥

3. Take a cooking class. Ready to experiment with all of the fresh greens? Preston can鈥檛 recommend cooking lessons on Ikaria enough: 鈥淥ne of my favorite things to do whenever and wherever I travel is to take a cooking lesson in the local cuisine, and Ikaria is a marvelous place to do that. You鈥檒l get a full-bodied taste of the culture, the people, and the customs while learning to prepare some delicious recipes that fit easily into your suitcase and can be the centerpiece of a great Greek dinner party once you get home.鈥 Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Have you been to the Greek islands? Which one was your favorite? Tag us in your Instagram pics or let us know on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)