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Passion for sports fuels old age in China

(Xinhua)    16:52, October 23, 2020

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 12, 2019 shows scenery of Marathon Park in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province. (Xinhua/Fan Peishen)

LANZHOU, China, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Peng Xiaoling, a 62-year-old marathoner in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, crossed the finish line with her arms high up, celebrating victory.

The gray-haired runner finished her 25th marathon with a time of 4:23:00. Although slower than her personal best, Peng was satisfied with this result, as she was the oldest athlete in the amateur group.

Statistics showed that China has more than 250 million people aged 60 and above by the end of 2019. Facing a rapidly aging population, the country has made solid efforts to improve senior citizens' living standards.

As living conditions improved, the elderly community is now paying more attention to health management. Participating in sports has become their common choice in pursuit of physical fitness and life enrichment.

"Old people are much more enthusiastic about sports than the young, due to their flexible time schedules and urgent health demands," said Peng. "It is obvious that the number of elderly marathoners is increasing in recent years, and most of them are amateurs running for health and fun."

Peng ran her first marathon in 1988, making her popular in sporting circles in Lanzhou. As the captain of a local running team, she also witnessed the country's improvement in the sports industry to meet the aged's needs.

"More indoor gyms and sports centers are opened to the public for free. And with more professional installations and facilities, we have more choices for sports," Peng explains.

With various options available, physical exercise is a habit and a realization of personal values.

Yang Shuqin (1st R) teaches senior people traditional Chinese aerobic Baduanjin at the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 17, 2020.(Xinhua/Meng Tao)

In a yoga club, 65-year-old Cui Yunqi flung herself into a handstand on a yellow hammock under her yoga instructor's protection.

This new type of yoga called aerial yoga, in which practitioners hang from a hammock suspended from the ceiling is popular worldwide.

Cui was the only participant older than 40 years old in the class and one of the best learners.

"I enjoy the process of doing yoga. It is challenging and fulfilling," said Cui. "Thanks to it, I made new friends and experience new things. It made me feel young again!"

After class, she posted a picture of her practicing yoga on her social media and received thumbs-up from her family in minutes. Instantly, she cheered up like a kid.

Recently, short videos of elder people doing sports in city parks have drawn heated discussion on China's social network. Comments applaud for their graceful movements on the parallel bars and positive attitude towards life.

"Life is colorful, and we can make it count," said Peng Xiaoling.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Bianji)

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