Cultural exercise: Japan radio taiso

When you make your New Year’s resolution to add more exercise to your daily routine, consider making it a cultural experience as well by trying the Japanese radio taiso.

Introducing a part of the Japanese culture with the radio taiso exercise is beneficial for both youth and adult’s physical health. Photo credit: ANR Communications | MSU Extension

Introducing a part of the Japanese culture with the radio taiso exercise is beneficial for both youth and adult’s physical health. Photo credit: ANR Communications | MSU Extension

When you make your New Year’s resolution to add more exercise to your daily routine, consider making it a cultural experience as well! One way to do this is by learning and trying the Japanese radio taiso that has been in existence for more than 80 years.

Radio taiso is widely known in Japan and viewed as part of the culture. In fact, the radio taiso is introduced to American automaker employees in Michael Keaton’s 1986 movie “Gung Ho.” Rather than getting weirded out by watching the auto plant Japanese employees in this movie doing this group morning exercise, wouldn’t it have been great if they joined in with this group fitness act?

Imagine yourself getting up every morning in Japan at 6:30 a.m. and doing the morning radio exercise. Piano music would be heard coming from the radio with the voice counting “Ich! Ni! San! Shi!” (one, two, three) as the exercises are performed. The exercises can be done at school, work and so many other places by any age person as the four minutes of low impact exercise get your blood flowing and stretch tight muscles.

As one of the foundations of the 4-H pledge, healthy practices such as this are an important part of Michigan 4-H. Through healthy living programs, 4-H youth are learning how to lead lives that balance physical, emotional and social health. Through its food, health and well-being programs, 4-H offers learning opportunities and resources that help kids make healthy food choices, develop their food purchase and preparation skills, create plans for fitness and prepare and handle food safely. 4-H healthy living programs also have physical activity programs – add the global perspective to yours with the radio taiso Japanese exercise.

Introducing a part of the Japanese culture with the radio taiso exercise is beneficial for both youth and adult’s physical health. It’s fun too and the laughter that sometimes results from doing these exercises releases endorphins, which are good for one’s mental health as well.

To add this cultural exercise experience to your New Year’s resolution, find the video online. My favorite video is available on YouTube from orahonoradiotaiso and provides a great start in sharing radio taiso with people of every age and gender.

For more information about 4-H global & cultural activities, as well as other 4-H programs, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

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