6 Amazing Facts About Radio Exercise in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

6 Amazing Facts About Radio Exercise in Japan

By Yae Mar 27, 2018

How do you work out every day to stay healthy? Run at the gym, lift weights to get in shape or do 100 push-ups in a row to set your goal to get the perfect body?
Many of you may work so hard that you might push yourselves onto the edge every day.

If you’re living in Japan, have you ever noticed that Japanese people have “special” ways of exercise, at a park or open spaces near the neighborhood?
If you’ve already seen that situation several times, many of you may find this Japanese way of exercise a little strange.
When trying to explain these movements of exercise, the only thing that comes to mind is a “strange way of exercise with unfamiliar music”

This is the special Japanese exercise which we call “Radio exercise” and it’s an amazing exercise, which helps everyone stay healthy.

Let’s see more about this radio exercise in this article.


1. What is Radio Exercise?



Why do Japanese people call this special exercise “Radio exercise” and what does it mean?

Japanese people created radio exercise in the year of 1928 as a national health insurance exercise. This exercise has been on NHK since then.
NHK stands for Nippon Hoso Kyokai and one of the major TV channel names in Japan. In other words, we can also call NHK as the “Japan Broadcasting Corporation”.

From the year of 1951 to 1952, this radio exercise was reorganized with 2 sections: radio exercise No.1 and No.2. Radio exercise is considered accessible for everyone including men and women of all ages, people of able-body and those physically handicapped.


2. How Effective is Radio Exercise?


How effective are radio exercises? By doing radio exercises everyday, it is possible to improve flexibility and blood circulation. The radio exercise makes these function movements run smoother.

The human body consists of  206 bones and about 650 muscle connections. To make these movements function well, radio exercise is an eligible physical exercise.

Other effective points:

・Increases metabolism
・Constipation relief
・Prevention from back trouble
・Recovery from poor circulation

What are the special movements of radio exercises that make it effective?

Let’s find the answer in the next chapter.


3.Slow-pace Movements are Everything


It’s not healthy to do some drastic movements to increase your pulse. Radio exercise is considered to increase participants’ blood flow from 20% to 30% by steadily rising the heart beat.

The important points for people to exercise are:

・Not too fast, rather slow (in a relaxed way)
・Take it easy, do not strain yourselves

These slow movements, like swimming gracefully as a turtle, keeps your heartbeat it on an average level (90 to 100 beats) which is peoples’ normal heartbeat (around 70), without elevating in too quickly.


4.Radio Exercise Also Helps Children to Regulate their Lives



Not only good for becoming healthy, but radio exercise also assists a healthy lifestyle habit for children.
When children take a long holiday (like summer vacation), they don’t need to go to school every day, thats why most of them become lazy and end up waking up late every morning.
In order to avoid this laziness for children, Japanese people have started doing radio exercises every day, especially during the summer holidays, at Sakuma Park near the Akihabara Station.

Normally the radio exercise starts from 6:00 am in the morning, so even if children have long term holidays, they need to get up early and go to the park to stretch. In this case, their parents also need to attend the radio exercise with them, so it’s a great way to spend time together.


5.The Major Places People Use for Radio Exercise



It was Sakuma Park that Japanese people have started for radio exercise but are there any other places now?
Not only the park but many Japanese people are also using following places for radio exercise these days:

・School playground in the neighborhood
・Some open spaces in the neighborhood
・Shrines or temples in the neighborhood
・Own garden at home

Any open space where people can have radio exercise.


6.Who Created the Steps of Radio Exercise?




It’s really an amazing thing that many Japanese people keep doing radio exercise, even though about 90 years have passed since it was created.
Who was that amazing person who created the steps of this exercise? People move their bodies with music all the time and this can’t be expressed either by Yoga or Pilates.

The person called Kiichiro Toyama was in the charge of choreography for the radio exercise. He was born in 1909 at Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan and had excellent physical performance. By 1936, he was chosen to represent Japan and attended the Berlin Olympics.

His policy for the radio exercise was “The exercise must be something like when people move their bodies in the rhythm of the music and think about doing this exercise until the music ends” 

If you once try the radio exercise, you’ll understand what he meant.



Now you know what kind of exercises Japanese people do at open spaces. If you’re interested in this exercise, why don’t you look it up on YouTube first, to get the big picture of radio exercise. It’s easy to learn.

If you always want to stay healthy and curb regular visits to the hospital in the future, let’s all start by practicing radio exercise.
It doesn’t take much time, only about 5 minutes, so even you’re busy in the morning, it won’t take much time.

Let’s try this Japanese magical exercise to be healthier!