Radio Calisthenics – Rajio Taiso

What is Radio Calisthenics?

I heard about it a few weeks ago and was intrigued by what Radio Calisthenics is all about, went on a research spree and figured it’s worth sharing. At first, it was definitely amusing to watch but after learning about it the concept grew on me. Now I wish we had a similar activity part of the school or work curriculum. Once you are familiar with the history of calisthenics you will understand how and where it fits in.

Radio calisthenics, also known as rajio taiso (ラジオ体操) in Japanese, is a form of exercise that originated in Japan and gradually gained popularity in different parts of the world. Looking into the topic I found out that radio calisthenics is a popular group exercise routine often conducted outdoors by following instructions transmitted via a radio broadcast or other means of media. The main purpose of radio calisthenics is to promote physical fitness and improve the overall health of the population.

The exercise routine typically involves a full-body workout that consists of a set of simple and rhythmic movements that target various muscle groups. As all exercises are designed to be easy to follow, I think they are suitable for everyone independent of age and fitness level. It is often performed in public spaces, schools, workplaces, and community gatherings.

Radio calisthenics workouts usually last for about 3 to 5 minutes. They are led by an instructor, and participants perform the movements together in unison, following the commands or music cues provided by the program.

The practice of radio calisthenics has been promoted in Japan to foster a healthy lifestyle and to create a sense of community and unity among participants. The broadcast is often sponsored by local governments or employers due to its health benefits, which include improved flexibility, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness.

Thanks to its popularity and effectiveness, radio calisthenics has spread to other countries such as the US, UK, and China. Similar group exercise programs are now being conducted in various parts of the world, adapting the concept to their cultural preferences.

Advantages of Radio Calisthenics

Radio calisthenics is designed to be a fun and inclusive exercise routine that brings people together. Participants gather in open spaces like parks or community centers, and radio provides the accompanying soundtrack for the exercises.

The exercises are great for beginners and are easy to follow. They involve stretching, arm movements, shoulder rolls, and other simple movements that target different muscle groups.

Beyond the physical benefits, radio calisthenics also offers social engagement. Especially if you are joining Radio Calisthenics in Japan it is a great way to get to know locals

In my opinion, the positive impact isn’t just limited to the body as it also extends to mental well-being, which I find specifically important next to physical well-being. Regular participation in radio calisthenics can uplift your mood, reduce your stress, and create a sense of accomplishment even if it is a small one.

Another advantage is its time efficiency. Since the routines don’t take longer than 5 minutes, it is easy to incorporate them into your busy schedules. Everyone whose job involves a lot of sitting and computer work can use this routine to engage in physical activity regularly, even by repeating it multiple times per day.

Common exercises that are often included in radio calisthenics routines

In case you also want to try to radio calisthenics yourself, please find below an overview of movements I would recommend for radio calisthenics: 

Let us start with Arm Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms straight out to the sides. Now, it’s your turn to make those arms twirl in small circles, either forward or backward.

Next up, Shoulder Rolls: Begin with your arms at your sides and roll your shoulders in smooth circles, both forward and backward. Loosen up those muscles and let the tension melt away.

Now, let’s get twisting with Torso Twists: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Engage your core and twist your upper body from side to side. Feel the stretch and let your worries dissipate.

Time for some Leg Swings: Hold onto some support and swing one leg forward and backward, then gracefully switch to the other leg. Embrace the rhythm as you release any stiffness.

Up the intensity with Knee Lifts: March in place, lifting your knees towards your chest with each step. Get that heart pumping and bring out your inner energy!

Now, let’s add a little challenge with Heel Raises: Stand with your feet together and raise your heels off the ground while keeping your toes firmly planted. Feel those calf muscles flexing!

Keep the energy flowing with Toe Touches: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the waist and try to touch your toes with your hands. 

Unleash your power with Side Bends: With feet shoulder-width apart, reach one arm up and over to the opposite side, stretching your side body. Now, switch to the other side, and feel the rejuvenation.

Let’s build strength with Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perform deep knee bends, keeping your back straight and lowering your hips towards the ground. Embrace the challenge and feel the burn!

Finally, let’s feel the grace of Lunges: Take a step forward with one leg, bending the knee to form a 90-degree angle, while the other leg stays behind. Repeat with the other leg and let your determination shine.

Wrap it up with Calf Raises: Stand with your feet together and rise up onto your tiptoes. Feel the strength in your calves and the pride of completing a fantastic workout!

Check out this Radio Taiso routine from the Japan Society London, that I have tried out myself. It’s a great warm-up for my usual calisthenics workout. 

Best music for Radio Calisthenics 

In Japan, where radio calisthenics originated, the music used for rajio taiso (ラジオ体操) is often composed specifically for this purpose. The music is usually cheerful and energetic, with a catchy melody and a tempo that complements the movements.

The style of music used for radio calisthenics can vary, but it often includes elements of traditional Japanese music, popular tunes, or specially composed instrumental pieces. Some radio calisthenics programs also incorporate sounds of nature, such as birdsong or flowing water, which in my option create a more relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere. Not being from Japan I prefer to listen to upbeat music with electric elements.  


In conclusion, radio calisthenics proves to be an invaluable warm-up for any regular exercise routine. I personally think it’s super simple, accessible to everyone, and at the same time engaging. By incorporating this enjoyable group workout into your fitness regime, you can effectively prepare your body for more intensive exercises ahead.

The gentle and rhythmic movements of radio calisthenics help improve the blood flow and are a great way to start a day with. Moreover, its brief duration of just a few minutes ensures that you can seamlessly integrate it into your daily schedule, encouraging consistent participation.

Beyond the physical benefits, radio calisthenics provides a sense of social engagement and community as you join others in a shared experience. 

If you haven’t exercised in a while, radio calisthenics is a great way to get back into it. Consider adding radio calisthenics to your morning routine or at the beginning of your regular exercise sessions. Embrace the fun and benefits of radio calisthenics as you pave the way toward a fitter and happier you!

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