This post is dedicated to health and fitness, mostly because I haven’t written anything in a while it’s important for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle wherever I go. Such an endeavor in Japan has been relatively easy to do. Even with the amazing Japanese cuisine, the majority of food is made with natural, preservative-free ingredients, and served in smaller portions (which for many North Americans may initially take getting used to). As public transit is very commonly used, there is a lot of walking to, from and between stations.
So as you can see, without trying too much, one can maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle. As a former competitive, athlete though, I am used to being more active, therefore I have sought out other things that I can do. Here are a few of my favourites.
Running. Even though Tokyo is a metropolitan city, many trails and paths can be found within the high-rises and skyscrapers. My neighborhood Asakusa has a beautiful trail along the Sumida River. Framed by trees, and with different bridges, stairs and inclines along the way, the run is quite scenic and definitely not boring. Runners/joggers of all ages and different levels can be seen running or speed walking. I have seen all types of runners, from elite marathon runners, boxers doing their roadwork, to a running group of senior citizens. Speaking of which, I remember running slightly ahead of an older gentleman (he looked to be in his 60’s), that was trying to pass me. Of course my pride would not let that happen, and we maintained a friendly race for almost a mile, until I turned to run back. We both laughed when we made eye contact and waved as though thanking each other for the motivation.
Weight training. When the weather is less than ideal for running (if it’s raining, or too humid), then working out indoors is another option. I am fortunate to live close to the Riverside Sports Center. I would describe it as a well-equipped community center. For a gym it is fairly simple. It does not offer any classes or amenities like saunas or massage chairs. It’s one floor with your standard cardio machines, weights, weight machines, and a stretching area.
There is no monthly or annual membership either, although new visitors are asked to fill out an application form (I presume for insurance purposes), and have their blood pressure taken the first time. After that, you simply purchase a ticket from a vending machine, and sign in at the front desk, and sign out when you leave. 250 JPN yen (approximately $2.75 CDN) will allow you to work out for up to 3 hours. Open between 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., it is very convenient. My schedule also allows me to avoid long waits for the machines during the peak hours.
Kickboxing. Last but not least, and if you are looking at switching it up, then a class or activity is a good way to add variety to your workout. Boxing is my first love, so I was ecstatic when I walked by Shoot Boxing Caesar Gym on my way home one day. My first attempt at signing up did not work out, as I could not communicate in Japanese, and there was no English speaker there at the time. But I took the flyer that he gave me, with the intention of finding out more information. As it turned out, one of my housemates trained at the gym, and he kindly offered to translate for me. After a trial lesson, he filled out the paper work for me helped me fill out the paperwork, and I was all set!
I couldn’t have found a better gym to join. Having been part of an amazing boxing community in Toronto (shout out to The Boxing Loft), it was great to find a gym where I could find this same sense of belonging. This is one of the few places that I go, where my inability to speak nihongo is not a barrier. I can relate and bond to the other members based on our shared passion. Although, I have never done kicks before, my boxing background makes learning the technique a lot easier. I have also been able to learn a little Japanese while learning how to throw a mae-geri (left front kick), hiza (knee) and hiji (elbow). A training session always starts by bowing and saying “Reinshu onegaishimasu” (which translated very loosely means “please let’s train together”), and ends the same way with “Reinshu arigato goishamasta” (“thank you for the training”.), to acknowledge your trainer and fellow trainees .
So there you have it! How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle when you move or find yourself in a new environment? Please comment below! As always…ご読了ありがとございました～ – go dokuryou arigatogozaimashita – Thank you for reading to the end! 🙂