Japanese morning exercises at Yoyogi Park

Photo:Hajime NAKANO on Flickr

Morning Exercise in Japan

Did you know that there is an exercise routine every morning in Japan? Japanese people usually do this exercise in the morning maintain their health. Actually this kind of exercise is popular in Japan, China and Taiwan. In Japan, they usually say it as “Rajio Taisou” (ラジオ体操). It is from two words, “Rajio”(ラジオ), which means Radio in Japanese, and the word “Taisou”(体操, which means physical exercise in Japanese. So, let’s get to know more about this healthy morning exercise in Japan, Rajio Taisou!


Black and white photo of radio calisthenics in 1930s Japan
Photo: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

In commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito, “Rajio Taisou” was introduced to Japan in 1928. What is the relation with the word Radio then? It is because they use radio for broadcasting this exercise every morning in Japan. This morning exercise was used to improve the health of Japanese soldiers from 1930 to 1940. Even now, Japanese people still do this exercise in the morning to maintain their health.

The Exercises

People doing radio calisthenics at a Japanese shrine
Photo: Nori Norisa on Flickr

What kind of exercise do they do then? They do a warming up, continue with lots of arm circles, squats, jumping, toe touching, bending over, and so on. If you know about the Chinese “Tai-chi” in the morning, like swinging their arms, clapping and so on. It is similar to Japan's Rajio Taisou. Not only that, but now it is also popular in many Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia. If you want to do this exercise, check out the video below.

The Benefits

First of all, when you get older, do you feel lazier to do exercise, or does it get harder to find time to do exercise because of work? If so, I recommend you do 10 to 15 minutes of Rajio Taisou every morning. With only 10 to 15 minutes of warm up in the morning, it can get your blood flowing and improve your heart rate better than if you did nothing. I can say that our health is number one!

In the United States, about 37% of adults have pre-diabetes, while in Japan, 13.5% of the population has either impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. Japanese people are really concerned about their health. Besides the food that they eat, they are also concerned about their exercise, and many people do Rajio Taisou every morning. I think that is one reason why there are so many Japanese people that live more than 100 years.

I can say that it is better to do 10 to 15 minutes of warming up than doing nothing in the morning. From my own experience living in Japan, I used to do Rajio Taisou every morning, and it helped me not feel sleepy in class. Just a simple 10 to 15 minutes of warming up in the morning can change your lifestyle! Over about 2 years living in Japan, I also never got sick with things such as cough, fever, flu, etc.

So, what are you waiting for? Go change your lifestyle with this healthy custom, “Rajio Taisou”!

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