Stay-at-home fitness booms among Chinese amid epidemic


Early in the morning, an online family sports meet was being held in a WeChat group, in which a video showcased a roller-skating girl skated between five empty bottles nimbly without knocking them over.

Lu Kaiwen, a staff of the Yunnan Open University in southwest China, set up the WeChat group to invite his family members and friends to exchange ideas about indoor sports games, as the government suggested people stay at home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Each member shared the video, covering sports such as rope jumping, running, pushups, indoor golf and even whack-a-mole.

"We can't do outdoor exercises as usual, but we don't want to lie around every day. I think doing indoor exercises and sharing it with family members and friends through social media could be fun," said Lu.

"The epidemic has changed everyone's life, but our pursuit for health won't be changed," he said.

Just like Lu, Chinese people have resorted to a variety of online resources to enrich their lives and search for new ways to exercise.

Recently, videos about world champions teaching people how to do indoor exercises have caught wide attention on the Internet. Acting as private fitness coaches, renowned Chinese athletes inlcuding Gao Min and Liu Wei uploaded a series of videos to give suggestions on how to do indoor exercises.

Gao Min, former Olympic diving champion, said the movements in the videos were easy-to-learn and straightforward, and she hoped people to remain sporty and improve their immunity during the epidemic.

"I feel so close to these world champions, and it is interesting to follow their instructions," said Wang Yan, who is now working at home, "although the movements are simple, I really sweat a lot!"

China's video-sharing app Douyin, also known as TikTok, has provided fitness enthusiasts with a creative platform to share their inspirations or "fruits" of physical exercises.

Fan Dongquan, a fitness coach in East China's Shandong province, and his colleagues gave six online fitness courses in Douyin in the past 10 days, with more than 2,000 people joining their live stream.

"As a practitioner in the fitness industry, I thought I could do something to help. I decided to offer free online courses," Fan said.

"Regular physical exercises can enhance people's immunity and protect them against illness, especially during the epidemic," he added.

The boom of stay-at-home fitness has also created huge online traffic for sports apps. PPTV, a sports video website, and fitness app "Keep" both launched in-home fitness courses designed for different ages.

Many young people in China also found their way to work out in video games.

With dynamic music playing, 32-year-old Wang Mengshi, was dancing and waving his phone as a gesture-based technology device to follow the moves of the electronic dancer on the 65-inch TV in his apartment.

He was playing a fitness-based video game called Just Dance during the home quarantine.

Wang said that he now preferred to stay home and keep fit rather than go to coffee shops with his friends on weekends as usual. Video games make fitness no longer boring.