A life­style of liv­ing healthy

> The Japanese can teach us a thing or two on how to live an ac­tive life and stay fit

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

Un­dousuru (ex­er­cise) I also noted no ad­ver­tise­ments for fitness cen­tres in ei­ther Osaka or Tokyo. In Ja­pan, peo­ple are al­ways do­ing un­planned ex­er­cise – the kind of ex­er­cise that arises through ev­ery­day liv­ing.

This is be­cause in Ja­pan, walk­ing is the norm. Most peo­ple take pub­lic trans­porta­tion to get around and out of the city.

In the land that gave us Hon­das and Toy­otas, the cities aren’t built for those own­ing cars at all. Park­ing fees are ex­or­bi­tant, and park­ing spa­ces are lim­ited.

If you live in the city and own a car, you may need to park some dis­tance away and walk to your des­ti­na­tion.

All this trans­lates to hav­ing to walk to the sta­tion in the morn­ing, stand on crowded trains, walk be­tween trans­fer points, and then walk to your des­ti­na­tion. And in be­tween lie lots and lots of stairs.

For peo­ple of con­sid­er­able girth, Ja­pan is un­for­giv­ing. Seats on the trains are built for thin peo­ple. Pub­lic toi­lets leave just about enough room for one to get in and sit.

The Japanese are also neat freaks. Peo­ple sweep leaves as far as 10 me­tres from their houses. It is im­po­lite if the leaves from your gar­den fall some­where else, caus­ing in­con­ve­nience to oth­ers.

Chil­dren are also en­cour­aged to work to­gether to clean their class­rooms af­ter school, a habit that of­ten car­ries over to adult­hood. That’s a lot of mov­ing around.

Re­mem­ber the Look East pol­icy in­tro­duced by for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad in 1981? The pol­icy was also a mes­sage to em­u­late the Japanese’s habits for suc­cess.

If you have been in­spired by the zen life­style of the Japanese, there’s no rea­son why you can­not adopt those prin­ci­ples in your own life. Bet­ter liv­ing starts with a good body and mind­ful eat­ing habits.

Let’s be fit!

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