Living a longer and healthier life; isn’t that what we all want?
We fight against time and aging by commercializing face creams, weight loss fads, and pills that turn back the clock. The truth is that the Japanese know something we don’t: how to live longer and look good doing it without the consumerism attached!
As a culture, Japanese people have been found to live the longest out of nearly all nationalities, and when it comes down to it, they have been doing so for hundreds of years.
What do the Japanese have that we don’t? What’s the big secret here?
Sometimes, the simplest way of life is the one that can age us the least!
Secret #1: More Walking And Less Whining
Walking is one of the healthiest forms of exercise any person can choose to undertake on a daily basis, but unless the average person is forced to, they simply don’t.
We take things like cars for granted and if possible, we park even closer to the grocery store or restaurant to ensure the walking we have to do is minimal, (I am very, very guilty of this!).
The Japanese on the other hand—they have to walk!
Their communities are designed with narrow streets and little or no parking space, therefore, owning cars is not ideal.
Additionally, the cost of owning a car is so exorbitant (think registration fees and gas prices), that the average Japanese uses public transportation, a bicycle, or just simply takes a walk!
Getting the right amount of exercise is extremely important to Japanese people, so when they need something from the market, they’re meeting a friend, or need to do some banking—they walk!
You might assume that the elderly or the sick are bedridden or take a day off from walking, but then again, you don’t know the Japanese!
They will walk regardless of the distance, weather, or their health, and that’s what makes them different from any other culture in the world. If you should learn one thing from the Japanese, it’s that walking is healthy at any age, and should be a part of your daily routine.
Secret #2: Less Reliance On Central Heating And Cooling
The Japanese aren’t reliant on central heating and cooling like other cultures, but that’s due in part to the fact that fossil fuels are expensive in the country…especially after the terrible Fukushima disaster when the government shut down their nuclear power plants.
This doesn’t mean that the temperatures are moderate in Japan—quite the opposite!
Summer months can be brutal, and when the citizens find it unbearable, the use a hand-held fan or uchiwa, and cold water to beat the heat.
Wintertime can bring fiercely cold weather that is combated by electric legwarmers and a small, but warm stove. Warm tea, soup, and layered clothing helps keep the Japanese warm in their home, but their bodies are the ones doing the real work!
You will rarely find an obese Japanese citizen, and that’s because not relying on a central heating and cooling unit can help you burn fat without even moving.
The temperature changes allow your body to act fast and work at maintaining a healthy body temperature, thus shedding pounds.
You don’t have to shun all of the things you depend on, but once in a blue moon, open a window in the summer, and put on clothes in the winter so you don’t become too reliant on electricity.
Secret #3: No Shoes In The Home
OK so this is an odd one, but bear with me!
The Japanese are notorious for their “no shoes in the home” rule.
In fact, genkan is the name of the area where someone can leave their shoes when they first enter a Japanese dwelling. This rule is important enough in their society to enact in pretty much all public buildings, as well as private ones.
So…just how does not wearing shoes give you a longer lifespan!?
For one, not having the constant bother of shoes provides you the greatest comfort of all. Health wise, going barefoot or only wearing socks, prevents a number of common ailments such as bunions, athlete’s foot, corns, and poor arches.
Basically, Japanese encourage people to walk with a natural gait.
Your shoes have been in places too numerous to count, and have you ever considered what you’re bringing into your home?
Chemicals and microorganisms are present on the sole of every shoe, but leaving it all at the door can make a world of difference. Your shoes will last longer, you can leave your daily stresses outside, and your feet will thank you!
Secret #4: Japanese Sit Without Help!
The one thing you may notice about the Japanese is this: they don’t have chairs or couches to sit on.
In fact, they use straw mats (tatamis), square cushions (zabutons), or just carpeting to when they need a rest. They either take on a kneeling position or sit cross-legged on the floor, but they don’t get help.
Proper posture is necessary, so the Japanese can sit for hours keeping their backs straight and working their abdominal muscles in the process.
Native Japanese citizens already assume these positions the moment they’re old enough to do so and comprehend them.
This practice prevents the reliance on chairs so prevalent in other societies. When you’re leaning against a chair’s back, your core muscles become relaxed. Then, the spine is forced to bear the brunt of your weight.
Sitting naturally works out your muscles and keeps your discs aligned properly.
Secret #5: Bowel Movements Aren’t Taboo
Western cultures fall into two categories when it comes to talking about bowel movements:
- They either find it funny
- It becomes a taboo subject
The Japanese on the other hand, even have a daily verb/noun for bowel movement referred to as unko.
Anyone that goes two or three days without a bowel movement quickly makes the necessary dietary changes to realign with their natural colon cleansing methods.
This eliminates waste build-up that can release toxins back into your body.
Secret #6: Deep Attachement With Nature
When you think of Japan, you might envision a futuristic country with mega-robots.
Sure, they’re quite a bit more advanced technologically than any other country, but they also know how to find the right balance between nature and modern society. When strolling through the cities, it’s easy to see the Japanese love of nature in all of their architecture, most specifically the Shinto shrines adorned with natural flora.
You don’t need a medical journal to explain to you that nature can soothe your psyche.
A walk by the riverbank or sitting on the park bench can give you the escape you need from everyday hectic life. The Japanese show their love for Mother Nature by infusing their homes with potted plants and herbs.
Most people don’t have large gardens or land, but they still make the most of what they have.
Well, there you have it!
The Japanese do know something we don’t: how to live life to the fullest with what they have. They don’t depend on technology and science to do everything for them—they take matters into their own hands.
Living longer and looking youthful all comes down to your way of life, and that can’t be changed with some magic pill or cream!