If you thought you could stay healthy with just food and exercise, think again. We are here to share with you some Japanese secrets to staying healthy, and we don’t just mean staying fatless.
HABITS actually pay the biggest role in staying healthy. Health isn’t just about staying physically slim and clean in our organs. It’s also about staying as positive despite the exhausting and extremely exasperating expectations of an exasperating economy and society.
The first habit is CHEWING. A good Japanese practice will be to chew at least 20 times before swallowing whatever is in your mouth. If you think 20 is too long a time to be chewing, start with 10.
The brain requires about 20 minutes to process information that the stomach is full. Eating too quickly allows more food to be taken in but may be more than what the body needs in that moment. Chewing also helps the digestive system to ease up on the process.
Japanese parents do train their children to chew their food properly before swallowing their food.
From an early age, Japanese are disciplined into maintaining a correct posture, when sitting and standing.
Having a good posture isn’t just about etiquette. It’s about what is good for your body, especially your back. It is true our sitting and standing postures get affected negatively, as we grow older. Good news is, you can improve your posture with the aid of some simple flexibility exercises and balance-specific workouts. Alternatively, you can pay $$$ to see a chiropractor.
3. Societal Pressure
It is molded into the minds of many Japanese that staying fit and healthy is very important. Being slim is one of those signs. You can have a small beer belly from the nights you spend with colleagues after office hours but having a belly the size of a Miele Oven really draws attention. Even at interviews, they still pick the healthier ones. Being thin as a pole isn’t the point. It is about staying lean and clean.
Health insurance doesn’t come cheap and so companies would definitely prefer to have a healthier employee. The general idea about leaner candidates is they give the signal of someone who eats a balanced and healthy meal, ensuring their body is well fed and reducing the risk of medical problems such as diabetes or cardiac arrest.
Of course more than that, it is an image complex. Whatever the reason, this pressure from society in Japan is like a nagging voice to eat balanced meals and to stay healthy and strong.
4. Dietary Choices
Like hell, we’re going to forget about food. We didn’t say that food is not a factor. We said it is not the only factor. Japanese have their own food pyramids to help teach their young ones about eating properly. From a very young age, moms ensure their kids eat a balanced diet.
At the end of the day, choosing your ingredients and selection of food combinations is an important habit too. It is hard to maintain the discipline of a strict diet. But it is always good to ensure one has a balanced amount of nutrients for one to stay fit and fitter for day to day activities and a life well lived.
5. Portion Sizes
Portion sizes matter. Japanese portion sizes can be generally much smaller than many parts of the world. Some shops do sell in huge chunks. It’s business for them and more for the buck of the big eaters. Japanese practice an 80%-full diet, with lots of rice and tea as part of their consumption. This habit complements the habit of chewing.
To help with this, Japanese do pay attention to timing when it comes to meals. The idea is to stay 80%-full and not to be left hungry at any time of the day. When you are hungry, just eat but eat moderately.
6. Walking and/or Cycling
Japanese generally take public transport to commute. Taxis in Japan are expensive. Public Transportation is the most economical way of commuting. Some Japanese complement that by walking or cycling to and from their homes to the nearest public transport (Bus/Subway). Some Japanese would prefer to move to an area of residence relatively near (about 5-10 minutes) their workplace so that they can cycle or walk. It helps to save cost and to burn calories. For the kids, it is also much safer to have them studying in a school near their place of residence. With such a lifestyle, walking and cycling help the people to burn what they consume.
In fact, anyone who has traveled to Japan would discover how effective being in Japan helps to lose weight. It’s because when we are exploring Japan, we are walking most of the time, searching for places of interest and food etc. In the search for those tourist stuff, we find that even going to a subway station from our accommodation may take a while. We actually have to do quite a bit of walking. That’s how the weight loss regime in Japan works.
7. Vigorous Workouts
From young, Japanese schools ensure their students are constantly fit physically. They encourage sports activities and their students to participate in them. Sports halls can even be found near the smallest of towns.
BONUS: Japanese prioritize on healthy living and sports that they have a PUBLIC HOLIDAY for that called Health-Sports Day on the 2nd Monday of October, every year. So for the year 2017, Health-Sports Day will be on October 9, 2017. Maybe we should have something special like that for us Singaporeans and people living outside of Japan.