Fitness through Kaizen

There's a Japanese word, Kaizen, that means gradual, orderly, and continuous improvement. Much of the Japanese auto industry focused on this concept in the post-WWII reconstruction era to revive and lead their market sector for years to come. The changes not only improved the automobiles, but it improved their employee’s lives with fitness programs and higher job satisfaction.

The Kaizen-concept has become the cornerstone of Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, and many other statistical control methods / business initiatives.

Numerous books and studies have been conducted on Toyota Motor Company and their climb to market dominance.

Their secret: “eliminating waste through perpetual improvement”.

By measuring elements of their business, successful companies have continually improved their operations and the lives of their employees.

This same simple principle will help us reach our long-term health goals. Take it one step at a time. Most of us like instant gratification concepts like...”get rich quick”...”fire and forget”...”instant results”...”lose 30 pounds in 30 days”...etc.

Long-term fitness success takes lifestyle changes. And these changes should be viewed as small, steady, gradual improvements - like a series of steps. Apply these principals to your daily routine and reap some HUGE fitness benefits over time.

Here’s an example of a fitness process improvement: What if your daily routine consists of: driving to the train station; getting a cup of coffee and pastry; getting off at your stop; walking 1 block to your office building; and taking the elevator to the 7th floor. What can you improve in this process?

  1. How far is it from your home to the train station? - Can you ride your bike or walk on occasion? A 10-minute walk, each way, could help you burn 6-8 pounds of fat in a year
  2. How many calories are in your breakfast? – Can you alter it and reduce the calories and still have an enjoyable breakfast? A bowl of oatmeal and banana will satisfy your hunger and help reduce your breakfast by 100+ calories a day
  3. Can you add some walking / steps from the train station to your office? – Is there another train stop that you could get off on nice days and walk an extra block? Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? These small actions can add up to significant improvements over time. Don’t miss out on these opportunities!

Small, gradual, continual improvements, the Kaizen strategy, can be a great tool in your fitness plan. Look at all aspects of your life and take one step at a time to implement small improvements: Add some morning calisthenics ...go for a walk at lunch, instead of eating out…plan and train for a walk, hike or running a set of crunches while watching TV…etc…

Don’t underestimate the power of Kaizen. Small, gradual changes can make wonderful and significant improvements in your life.

Giving up your late afternoon vending machine trip may seem like a small step….but it’s the small steps that help us reach our lofty goals!

Return from Kaizen to Motivation!

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