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Japan’s Most Famous and Easiest Exercise for Healthy Weight Loss – Radio Taiso

The author is a Japanese Karate Champion with many experiences in exercise, diet, health and weight management. She shares useful tips here!


Japan's National Exercise "Radio Taiso"

Radio Taiso (Radio Exercise) is the most famous exercise in Japan. Even the generation that doesn't listen to the radio knows it and many people do it as part of their daily life routine. In Japan, it is not only a part of school education, but is also practiced in various regions, local governments, and many companies and factories including their international branches as the easiest exercise for healthy weight loss. Radio Taiso is Japan’s national exercise program that has been loved by heart across generations for more than 90 years.

Surprising Origin in the USA

Although Japanese Radio Exercise symbolizes one of the world's top longevity countries, it originated in the United States. In 1925, Metropolitan Life Insurance in the United States invented 15-minute long exercise routines called "Setting Up Exercise" and began broadcasting it on the radio.


History of Japanese Radio Taiso

When the Setting Up Exercise was launched, Japan’s Health Insurance Bureau was running a global insurance market research in order to establish a state-owned insurance business. Back then, the average life expectancy in Japan was only 42 years which was the biggest concern for the Japanese government. Upon hearing about the successful launch of the American exercise program, the Health Insurance Bureau immediately began to work on introducing it to Japan. Later, they modified the Setting Up Exercise to suit the Japanese people, renamed it "National Health Calisthenics," and started in 1928 with two aims; improving the physical strength of the public and maintaining their health.

The original National Health Calisthenics, however, was not accepted by the public due to its high level of difficulty. The Insurance Bureau continued to improve the National Health Calisthenics based on three concepts.

  1. Easily practiced by anyone.
  2. Immediately performed at any place.
  3. Enjoyable with bright rhythms.

While devising various contents and accompaniment music, in 1951, the Health Insurance Bureau finally established "Radio Taiso No. 1."

Collective Radio Taiso as Japanese Summer Tradition

When National Health Calisthenics started in the 1930s, radio was still a luxury item. Radio Exercise soon became popular as a group activity where people would take their radios to the plaza and exercise together. Since then, collective Radio Taiso came to be used for national mobilization and companies. It has now become a children's custom that is performed every morning in the open space during the summer vacation.


Composition and Efficacy of Radio Taiso

Radio Exercise consists of two parts, the first and the second that include 13 sequences each, and the total duration is 6 minutes and 21 seconds. In this short amount of time, the entire routines affect about 400 different muscles including muscles, joints, and bones that do not move much in daily life. By stimulating every part of your body, you can restore your body's natural functions, prevent illness and injury, improve your constitution, and lose weight. Radio Exercise is not an exercise that shows immediate results. However, if you continue it every day, it will gradually become effective and will surely promote your physical health.

Radio Taiso No. 1 and No. 2

 Radio Taiso No. 1Radio Taiso No. 2

Time Duration

3 minutes and 13 seconds

3 minutes and 8 seconds

Benefit 1

Promotes Blood Circulation

Increases Muscle Strength

Benefit 2

Relieves Stiff Back and Shoulders

Improve Physical Fitness

Benefit 3

Corrects Distortions of the Spine and Lower Back

Promotes Functions of Internal Organ

Sequence 1

Stretch the entire body

Loosen up the entire body

Sequence 2

Swing arms and stretch legs

Bend and stretch arms and legs

Sequence 3

Arm rotations

Open and rotate arms

Sequence 4

Chest stretches

Chest stretch

Sequence 5

Bend the body sideways

Bend the body sideways

Sequence 6

Forward and backward bends

Bend the body back and forth

Sequence 7

Body twists

Body twists

Sequence 8

Arm Stretches up and down

Hops and spot

Sequence 9

Bend the body diagonally downward and deflect the chest

Twist, deflect, and bend diagonally downward

Sequence 10

Rotate the entire body

Collapse movement

Sequence 11

Jump with both feet

Straddle jumps with both feet

Sequence 12

Bend and stretch legs with waving arms

Bend and stretch legs by swinging arms

Sequence 13

Deep breaths

Deep breaths

Radio Taiso No. 1

Radio Exercise No. 1 features exercises such as stretching arms and legs and moving joints significantly. It can be easily handled by people of all ages from children to elders. It helps to relax the body muscles and regain flexibility.

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Radio Taiso No. 2

Radio Exercise No. 2 started in 1952, one year after the establishment of Radio Exercise No. 1. It features exercises that move a lot of muscles and consume energy throughout the body. While the first program focuses on flexibility, the second program is to strengthen the body and muscle and activate internal organs. By doing the first and second exercises together, you can expect to further improve your physical fitness and maintain your health.

5 Weight Loss Benefits of Radio Taiso

  1. High-Calorie Consumption
  2. Training of muscles of the whole body
  3. Improvement of Metabolism
  4. Improvement of Posture
  5. Relieves Constipation

Radio Exercise burns a lot higher calories than it looks. Its calorie consumption is similar to that of brisk walking, and it will be further increased if you breathe properly. It incorporates all body movements such as jumping, bending, stretching, twisting, and shaking, and can strengthen muscles that are not usually used. As you train your muscles, your metabolism improves which leads you to lose weight. In addition, further weight loss can be expected as a result of improved posture and relieved constipation through muscle training.


6 Tips for Effective Radio Taiso

  1. Perform Three Times a Day
  2. Synchronize Breathing
  3. Focus on Muscles
  4. Do It in Correct Forms
  5. Avoid Right After Waking Up and Before Bed Time
  6. Do Not Overdo

1. Perform Three Times a Day

To expect a definite weight loss effect, it is ideal to do it three times a day; morning, afternoon, and evening. However, don't overdo it. If you are busy, reduce it to once or twice, depending on your physical condition.

2. Synchronize Breathing

Breathing is a very important factor in exercising. Listen carefully to the commands and breathe according to each movement. Matching your breathing with your body will make the exercise much more effective.

3. Focus on Muscles

It gets more effective to focus on the moving parts of the body and muscles in each exercise. The command will tell you which part to move, so don't miss it.

4. Do It in Correct Forms

When you just start Radio Exercise, watch the video and learn the correct form. To improve the effectiveness of the exercise and to prevent injuries, do it correctly. Stretch your fingers and perform each movement carefully. Stretch where you can, bend where you can, and make sure your muscles are moving properly and your joints are moving smoothly.

5. Avoid Right After Waking Up and Before Bed Time

Avoid doing exercises right after waking up, as your body and brain are not fully awake yet, and you don't want to startle your body. Also, avoid doing it before bedtime as it may interfere with a good night's sleep. After waking up, have a light breakfast and wait until your body is fully awake. In this way, you can improve blood flow and increase weight loss. If you do it at night, do it at least two hours before bedtime.

6. Do Not Overdo

The key to Radio Exercise is to keep your own pace and continue. Don't overdo it, and move your body within the limits of your physical strength. If you push yourself too hard, you may hurt your back or other body parts, or get injured. Do not force yourself, but do it step by step at your own pace.


Start Today for Healthy Weight Loss Life

Radio Taiso, which can be done by anyone at any place, is the easiest exercise for healthy weight loss, and will surely bring a positive effect if you keep doing it. Make it a habit to spend six and a half minutes doing it every day and have a healthy weight loss lifestyle. If you find it difficult to continue, ask your family, friends, and colleagues to join you and enjoy together.


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