Thursday, December 18, 2008
Get Moving... Now!
China is so thrilled because its citizens are becoming more physically active.
How many? According to a State General Administration of Sport survey, 340 million, or 28.2 percent of the population.
The survey adds the urban population exercises more regularly than those in the rural areas.
One wonders what this definition of physically active is, because I'm sure there are millions of farmers in the countryside who don't have a desk job or watch television all day.
Nevertheless, the government believes this awareness of physical fitness came about after China was named the host city for the 2008 Beijing Games seven years ago.
The Chinese people's most favourite activities? First on the list is walking and jogging, followed by table tennis, badminton, basketball and tennis.
While Sheng Zhiguo, head of the Sports for All department under the administration raves about the increased numbers, he does admit the figures are much lower than that of developed countries, that have even stricter criteria in grading people who do regular exercise.
For example, in 2006, 49 percent of seniors in the United States spent more than 30 minutes doing physical exercise five times a week.
Maybe for some of those numbers, that entailed window shopping at the mall...
Anyway, Sheng blames China's numbers on people here having less time devoted to exercise and less sports facilities.
The latter might be true, as people here are more inclined to do sports or activities that are practically free.
But not having much time to exercise is an excuse for many.
Ask any of my colleagues who live in the company dormitories or near the office what they do after work, and many of them say watch TV, watch DVDs or sleep.
As a result, many of them come to work looking tired, bags under their eyes or with pale-looking faces.
I've tried to encourage them to do some exercise to give them more energy and feel less stressed.
But few have taken my advice, and the sallow lacklustre looks continue coming into the office, dreading the work day.