If you have a walk in the streets of the United States, most countries, and the Arab world, you always see pictures and advertisements for fitness and physical exercises. Besides Internet ads, ads inside hotels and also included in some universities.
But by contrast, for a country that is popular with their citizen’s longevity, and has very low rates of obesity. Besides that, ranks lowest among high-income advanced countries at 4.3%. You might be surprised to find that the Japanese don’t have much time to practice sports culture. Sports programs in Japan are not a big deal, and not many people have a gym membership. The Japanese rarely use their lunch break to go to the gym and if they do they are more likely to be seen as sports crazy.
In a recent Rakuten Insight survey of 1,000 Japanese citizens between the ages of 20 and 60, about half of those questioned revealed that they exercise rarely, once a month, or not at all. As they don’t have the time or simply don’t like to exercise much; most people don’t see exercise as part of their daily lifestyle.
What is taking place here?
And what does exercise look like in Japan?
If you take a closer look at what exercise means to the Japanese, you’ll find that the word is limited to intense exercise whether it’s in or out of the gym. But perhaps exercise takes forms that aren’t necessarily related to going to the gym and lifting weights, or running 5 kilometers a day.
Specifically, the exercise that Japanese people need is the type of exercise interwoven into our daily lifestyle: which is walking.
What the above surveys show that exercise is not important for good health, but that in the daily Japanese approach is just to move. Probably most non-Japanese people don’t see walking and movement as exercise. For your knowledge, Japanese adults walk an average of 6,300 steps per day, adult males in their twenties to sixties walk nearly 7,800 steps per day and women in their twenties to sixties about 6,800 steps.
Rural Japanese in particular are known for their walking culture, with a particular interest in incorporating movement into their daily lifestyle. Some rural prefectures in Japan have managed to reduce the high stroke rate by paving and incorporating more than 100 walking routes, and citizens now enjoy the highest longevity rates in the country.
“The basic thing we needed was to get people to walk. Everyone can do that. You walk, and you can talk to your friend, you do exercise and that helps build a wise community”Japan Prime Minister
Most Japanese citizens live in walkable cities where public transportation is convenient, safe, and affordable, and many families do not own cars. As a result, when most people go to work, they walk. When people go to buy groceries, they walk. When people go out to dinner, they walk. It is an activity adopted every day by every generation: walking is as much a part of everyday life as breathing.
Your little steps are a way to improve your health
This is not a call against vigorous exercise in the gym. Personally, I love to play sports and spend a few hours a week running, cycling, and full-contact sports. I am drawn to sports such as gymnastics, tennis, equestrian, basketball, modern pentathlon, and others. I don’t doubt the benefits of good sweating exercise, and I find that it enhances my physical and mental health.
But high fitness culture can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for those who aren’t used to it and overdoing it can lead to constant guilt. Watching the people around us or the ads we see every day makes us believe that reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is only available to dedicated people who lift weights constantly and make enough time for their daily run.
To be healthy, we do not need to continue to do hard exercise…. What we need is closer to us than that.. is to live a culture that is easy to us… that is the culture of walking.