Before you start reading this, please make sure that you have read the Part 1 of this series to appreciate more the conclusion of this topic.
So moving on to our unresolved question in my last post on why there are only few Japanese that are obese while not many of them go regularly to gym for workout. Those individuals who may have this kind of question in mind might be looking for some serious physical activities on the part of Japanese since they always eat white rice which others claim to be a must avoid food for those who want to lose weight.
So having regular gym workout became a more common option specially for the western people in order to reduce fats. I somehow agree to that idea. Because such tougher physical activities will activate the body to produce more required energy so extra raw material nutrients will be used and also fats.
But as for the Japanese people, I think it doesn’t matter if they go to gym or not. They can still be physically fit even without that. It’s because of this:
Factor #3: Walking and Cycling
From children going to school to adults going to their work, walking far distances has been part of their daily lives. According to a study, an average Japanese commuter walks for around 7000 steps per day so it’s not just an ordinary activity. It’s almost or equivalent to a workout.
We may also add the fact that Japan has several well built Rail Transportation Systems. The tendency is, they will always have to go up and down high stairs in order to ride the train and get out of the the train station.
In regards to automobile, it’s too expensive and inconvenient to have a car in Japan so many of them prefer to have bike instead and it’s so much common there. So it’s another form of exercise for them.
Majority of the bikes there is what they called the “Mama chari”, meaning “mother bicycle”. This is the bike model that always have a basket at front. It is considered as a family wagon station that is used to pick up and send children to school and for buying groceries.
So undeniably, majority of the Japanese already have their daily dose of tougher physical activities or exercise. Or should I say work out?
Factor #4: Onsen or Hot Springs
Now this is my bonus Key Factor for you. “The Hot Springs.” Yeah!
Onsen is the Japanese term for hot spring and bathing in this hot body of water is really sooooooo relaxing. Truly one of the favorite places of tourists because it provides rejuvenation for them both physically and mentally.
They have so many Onsen spot options to choose from because Japan has around 3000 Hot Springs nationwide due to the country’s location in a volcanically active region. So how does this connect to weight loss?
As stated by a Japanese doctor, bathing in Onsen has many health benefits. The water from hot springs itself contains lots of essential minerals which promotes well being while hot temperature expands the blood vessels so the circulation of blood in your body improves.
The hot temperature now is another weight loss secret ingredient. In Factor #2 of this topic, I’ve written that hot teas are served in Japanese restaurants before or after meal. The hot temperature of the tea itself aids in the optimal digestion of food that we eat while when it comes to soaking yourself into the hot spring, the hot water heats up the outer surface and the liquid portions of our body including our blood .
Now here’s my point, some forms of fats solidifies when chilled then liquifies when heated. Am I right? Just like the cooking oil that builds up when chilled then melts when heated.
So how does it apply now to our body?
It goes like this, it will be hard for fats to build up of we intake hot teas because of the heat while if we frequently drink cold beverages including cold water specially before or after meals, the tendency is our stomach might have a harder time to digest food unless it has enough energy to heat up and digest. Now when it comes to immersing yourself in hot springs, the hot temperature together with the minerals present in the spring makes our body cells more active but not stressed and tend to eliminate unnecessary sluggish fats gradually. So hot temperature also aids in losing weight.
On the contrary, Cold Temperature aids in losing weight also. What? How did that happen? Hmmmm interesting isn’t it? Even I got so interested with this topic. I discovered that the cold climate in many regions of Japan also is a factor for Japanese to lose weight. Whenever the environment becomes extremely cold like having snow everywhere, our body reacts to it. When the body sensed that intense cold temperature is approaching and if it is evaluated by the brain that it is a potential threath, it signals the body to heat up and produce energy. Of course our body fats is one of the candidates to be burned or used along the process. This is such an amazing defense mechanism of our body against cold threath. But this method has its limits because the energy is just budgeted throughout the body so you still must find thick jackets and other coverings to keep you warm while in extreme cold environment. Note: I did not advice this on beverages. Still hot tea is a better option for drinks compared to cold beverages.
In addition to benefits of bathing in hot springs, experiencing the relaxing feeling of the said activity stimulates our Brain to perform better the body processes including metabolism. It’s because stress is reduced. See other details here.
Factor #5: Education, Discipline and Culture
Finally, we are here now at the last Key Factor and for me, this is the most powerful among the five.
In Japan, they are early teaching children the Food origin, Nutrition and Healthy Living. They called this “Shoku Iku” or Food Education. They teach them the right combination of foods for optimal Nutrition and Digestion. So at an early age, Japanese children already know how to cook or prepare not just foods but healthy foods. In addition to that, they somehow have some kind of emotional stability on choosing the right foods because it is seriously developed in their respective schools.
One of the strong reason is their government’s implementation of the basic law of shokuiku on 2005 then strengthened by the School Health Law on 2008 making the food education compulsary on schools.
Next is Discipline. The early establishment of this virtue to children makes living a healthier lifestyle easier for them. They don’t just teach them the knowledge, they let them apply it, and exercise the food preparations. Parents are also encouraged to train their children to be responsible doing some household chores that they can do. So the discipline imparted to them does not only apply to household chores, they can also apply it to other aspects including the choice of food and the manner of eating.
But this type of education does not only focus on nutrition. Children are also taught the value of eating together with their family, respect to elders and respect to other people.
And because large number ofJapanese citizens complied to the Law for better nutrition and discipline, they now developed this kind of positive culture. This culture resulted to them having one of the highest in the whole world when it comes to life expectancy.
Our strong decision today to put the right virtue of discipline and consistently following it will bring us towards good result.
I do believe that being overweight does not happen overnight. Being overweight is a lifestyle decided many years ago while they are still skinny or thin then suddenly the system collapsed but the good news is, it can be reversed.
Making the Japanese people as role models in some aspect that despite the strong market influence of big soda companies, fast foods and sugary delicacies, many of them still made the healthy options as their choice. And to my dear friends who are overweight now and depressed on their situation, there is still hope but please bear in mind that the change they desire will not happen overnight as they make efforts to restore their youthful shape.
If you want, you may see the weight loss success story of Carly as inspiration.
But remember this, I do believe that you are already well or restored right now the moment you decided to start a new healthier lifestyle even if you don’t see it yet when you look at the mirror. Success will suddenly happen and obesity will collapse as long as you have the right lifestyle to take you to that result.
Thank you very much for the patience to read this article. Hope you enjoyed it. If you somehow relate to this topic and it has helped you, please let me know by your comments below. Good day everyone.