I’ve been living in Japan for just over three weeks and while it’s an exciting journey for me, I must admit I’m finding the heat unbelievable. It’s pretty much like being in a mild sauna, even well into into the night. On the upside, drying clothes has never been easier! I’m also learning to appreciate the healthy ways of the Japanese. Healthy by habit, is seemingly perfectly easy and natural for them.
An Invisible Routine Can Become A Healthy Habit
Have you ever caught yourself in an auto pilot instance, where you were performing a complex task, but your mind was elsewhere?
This would be a case of an unconscious habit, which is basically a very well practiced activity requiring little thought. Now obviously this is a double edged aspect of our very nature, as we all well know very well that certain habits can serve us and others don’t.
Habit formation is said to take a considerable amount of time of consistent practice. The truly powerful part about ingrained habits are that they are self-reinforcing feedback loops. This can either cripple or empower their user.
This is also why changing habits can be so incredibly difficult, one must be mindful of the habits you wish to form.
In my brief stay here in Japan I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the healthy habits of the Japanese in practice! Japan is rated as one of the healthiest nations in the world. Indeed the longest living people globally are from an island in Japan called Okinawa. They’ve been the subject of detailed research over many years.
It’s perfectly natural for the Japanese to be active. Hence why it’s been so difficult for me to find a gym. And it starts from a young age. Apart from their healthy diet, children are encouraged from a very early age to be active. For instance, school summer holidays are not for lazing around. Rather, they’re used for club activities ranging from Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Kendo, Judo etc.
Students will come to school Monday to Saturday to practice their chosen activities for 3 to 5 hours. It’s no wonder why they become so skilled and healthy.
Always Time for Exercise, No Matter The Age
Another interesting case is how many Japanese people set out every evening after a long day of work for a casual jog or walk. They take in the scenery, often with a friend or companion and increasingly are using Pokemon as well!
On my evening cycle from gym, I have been often surprised to see so many elderly people in their running shoes going the distance.
This goes to show how a healthy habit can give so much in return, and also how certain habits can set healthy standards for younger generations to aspire to.
We have much to learn from the Japanese in terms of health and longevity. I hope to write more about this subject in future posts.