(Don’t let this happen to you…get some excercise! Taken by friend “Thrig” during a meeting at work years ago, while experimenting with a fish-eye lens.)
Today is Physical Education Day in Japan, or taiiku no hi (体育の日). It used to fall on Oct. 10th, but after 2000 it is now on the first Monday of October. It’s a day to celebrate physical fitness, and health-awareness.
By far the most popular tradition around this time is the undōkai (運動会), which are school-wide competitions for younger kids, and involve lots of different challenges (tug-o-war, races, etc). My daughter has been in undokai events here in Seattle, thanks to her Japanese pre-school. My daughter is nerdy like her father, so sports aren’t really her specialty, but I really enjoy watching her try her best. 🙂
But as an adult, it’s also a nice day to reflect on one’s own health. If you think of your body like a car, it is designed to move, not sit all day. We like to sit and do nothing all day, but we feel a lot better when we are active. Likewise, if a car never runs, the engine will eventually break down.
Also, the fuel you put in the car is important too. In the same way, if you keep putting bad “fuel” in yourself, it will build up and ruin the engine. If the engine is ruined, it’s expensive and difficult to fix, and might never work the same again.
I’m not that physically active, or self-disciplined either, but I do think about these things and try to get some exercise and try to make some smarter choices about food than before. Being in Japan has inspired better eating habits too. During my last trip there in August 2012, I actually lost some weight. I was walking a lot between train stations, and eating smaller portions. Even though I was eating a lot of junk food, the improvements overall helped me lose some weight in only 3 weeks.1
I think if you want to improve your health, you have to avoid clever “plans” or methods. Keep it simple. Instead, just learn to appreciate the benefits of good health, and let that inspire you to make small, subtle changes that are sustainable. The best changes are the ones you don’t even have to think about. 😉
Happy Fitness Day everyone!
1 Sweating a lot in the terrible heat probably helped too, plus the mosquitoes kindly kept draining out my blood and fat too. :p