Promotion of Health for Elder Women Who Use Fitness Gym, Curves

The number of people who are over 60 years old is now increasing in Japan.  Many of them want to maintain their health as long as possible.  It has become common knowledge that people should take nutritional supplement or go to a fitness gym to work out once or twice a week to keep healthy.  The average age of the gym users seem to rise each year as most users found in many fitness gyms may range between 65 and 70 years old.  

Have nothing must to do at home… it is fun to take a bath in a large bathroom at gyms than a tiny bathroom at home…  Monthly fee allows the gym members to use the facility as many times as they want.  If the fee does not correlate with the visit, it is natural that more and more people find it beneficial to spend their time in gyms three or four times a week.

Compared to the conventional gym practice, Curves has a very unique concept.  Have you ever seen or heard of a fitness club, Curves targeting specifically and only at women and providing only 30 minutes of workout in one session?  Currently, the company has spread throughout Japan having the gym studio at almost 1700 locations.  At first when you hear 30 minutes workout, you may well doubt what can be done in such a short time.  You might even think that preliminary stretches may take up the time.  But you are wrong.  You will realize this actually works just fine if you try. 

The gym studio has 12 different workout machine, each of which trains your upper half, lower half, front and back side of the muscle.  Also muscle relating to stretching your body and your core muscle.  What is unique is that you don’t repeat one action so much to train.  The duration of one single action may last only 45 seconds.  You check your own pulse once in every 6 minutes and see if it rises.  The rise indicates the exercise is effective.  You might still wonder if it is effective to exercise in such a short time.  However, those in the 60s, 70s or even 90s who could not use the machine at all at first because they did not have enough muscle, will soon realize that they have become capable as they keep up working and get used to the machine. It is also nice that Curves monitors the users’ muscle levels of upper and lower half of body and flexibility of overall once in a couple of months

The founder is Dr. Gary Heavin who lost his mother suddenly by high blood pressure, depression and obesity.  He went to a medical school and developed a fitness club based on the kinesiology.  At first, only young women gathered against his will.  He then learned nutritional science and opened Curves targeting at women in middle-age and older.

In a small room of 36m2 twelve different kinds of machine are lined in a circle so people exercise facing each other.  You use each machine one after another.  After 45-second exercise, you get off the machine and stamp for another 45 seconds.  Then back to the next machine and so on.  For people in their ages, if you force too much, you get injured.  Curves-style exercise stops just before the point when people feel forced.  This is completely opposite from the concept that conventional fitness gyms have.  This much of exercise is just enough so you don’t feel tired when you get home.  Because it is such a short time, this exercise does not bother your other routine work.  Lastly, since you are not forcing yourself, you can keep up doing it long.  It is no surprise that this idea came from American not from Japanese to come up with the opposite style from the regular fitness sports gym.   

About 40 years ago, I conducted a basic research with my friend, Shizuo Wada how a 15-minute exercise once a week could lose weight.  He was the founder of Wada Laboratory that hosts Japan Beauty Contest.  He also verified whether each exercise was effective or not by checking pulse.  His workout program consisted of 6 or 7 types of exercise for both upper and lower parts of body in one session.  What was different from Curves was to exercise along the pitch of your breathing but when you exhaled out completely, you still needed to hold for 5 to 10 more seconds.  That was the main key point.  When you breathe out during the anaerobic respiration, lactic acid builds up in the muscle where load being applied, which stimulates and generates new muscle.  When the fat mass around muscle breaks down, it generates energy.  This energy builds new muscle cells.  Mr. Wada back then had an inspiration and came up with a diet method of high-protein and low-carbohydrate foods.  He was the very first person who conducted this low-carbo-diet, which is now very popular.  It was perhaps during 1980s when Dr. Atkins started the low-carbo-diet in America so I am pretty sure Mr. Wada’s finding came to light way earlier.  In other words, Mr. Wada came up with this diet idea first than anybody in the world.  Mr. Wada and Curves share the common point that short-time workout has been verified effective. 

Exercise is surely inevitable in upcoming era of an aging society, but it should also be obtainable reasonably.  Chances and places to exercise should be reachable in any neighborhoods.  Never force too much to workout.  These are very important factors.  Curves, meeting those conditions, will surely increase.  Women considered to live 10 years longer than men should train their bodies, bones and make it habit to go out several times a week.  Increasing the oxygen consumption by exercise and simple but routine workout are the best for preventing dementia and fractures in elderly people.  I don’t particularly support any business but Curves is exceptional.  I believe Curves is great.  Lastly but not the least, staff of Curves call their members by their first names instead of last names.  Women who have been called not even by their last names but in impersonal manners such as “ma’am” or “someone’s mom/grandma” for a long time, will feel happy when they were called in a way back in younger days, “Hi, Sachiko-san!” I believe the Curve-manner has a great effect on anti-aging.

Mr. Takahito Murakami, author of “Miracles of ‘Thank You’ That Pleases Daichi”

Without much thought, I picked up a book, “Miracles of ‘Thank You’ That Pleases Daichi” in a book store and read it through that night.  The author, Mr. Murakami quit his job in 1997 and started farming by Toya-ko Lake in Hokkaido.  His son, Daichi passed away at the age of four.  Mr. Murakami started to come up with new farming techniques as if he were guided by the tragedy of his son’s death.  Consequently, Mr. Murakami determined to become helpful to others and that encouraged him to reach a new farming technique that does not use agricultural chemicals or artificial fertilizers.

The new farming technique is to say “Thank You” to everyone and everything around him at all times, from morning till night.  Mr. Murakami never failed to say “Thank You” to vegetables he harvests, farm machine and equipment he uses and his family member who farms together.  Ever since he read in some articles that saying “Thank you” for 360,000 times can make miracles happen, he made up his mind to carry this through.  In fact, he had been depressed for 5 years until he came up with the “Thank You” farming technique.  He did not say “Thank You” at all, not even once.   

As he started to say “Thank You” out loud, his life started to turn around 180 degrees as well.  The more he said “Thank You” to his family and also to his tractor day after day, the more remarkable the miracles have become.  One day, his lettuce became quite a topic in a supermarket that it does not get rotten like others.  People wanted to know the secrete tricks, which were hard to be understood by the local agricultural cooperative association.  Mr. Murakami repeatedly said “Thank You,” that was all; “Thank You” to the earth, microorganism and even to worms or often-called vermin because they eat the harvests. 

What makes Mr. Murakami appraisable is that he is grateful for a putrefactive bacteria that is usually an enemy to farmers because it causes weeds or crops to decompose.  He considered that increase of putrefactive bacteria is a message that something is lacking.  He also carefully examine a piece of weed for its ecology to understand.  This is incredible.  Weeds are typically considered harmful to vegetables and wiped out by chemicals.  This is nothing unusual measure against weeds among farmers or anyone related to farming throughout the world.   

It is amazing that he managed to get an insight that weeds are a lump of natural healing power.  They grow in the very spot where they need to compensate the soil for insufficient nutrients.  For example, Mr. Murakami grows cabbage in one corner of the field and potatoes right next to it.  Cabbage absorbs calcium from the soil completely.  After the harvest with the soil lacking of calcium, plants such as fat hen or pigweed start to come out.  You may be surprise to know those weeds synthesize calcium.    Instead of pulling out to dispose, if you keep those weeds, they will naturally make up for the lost calcium. 

Potatoes, on the other hand, do not absorb much soil nutrients so the harvested soil is left with excess nutrition.  In such soil conditions, the gramineous plant like millet grow and take up the excess nutrition that left behind.  Mr. Murakami discovered that the earth improves its soil conditions by itself. 

His book is full of the true essence of nature that has never been addressed.   I highly recommend to read this wonderful book.  I think we’ve come to a point we should be aware that there are no such thing to call enemy in the nature.