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Chinese parents find ways of indoor fitness for children amid epidemic
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Chinese parents find ways of indoor fitness for children amid epidemic

Spreading a cloth on the table, using a row of beverage cans as net, Qi Yuan, with his parents' help, can now play table tennis inside their home.

"It is a good way to enhance immunity and develop his skills amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus." Qi Yuan's father Qi Feng, living in Lanzhou city of northwest China's Gansu Province, tells Xinhua that they keep playing table tennis during this period.

By taking table tennis lessons, the little boy and his father show great passion for exercising at home.

Before the virus outbreak, Qi Yuan regularly went to the table tennis club near his home, playing with kids his age. To keep this habit, his father found a new way to help him at home.

"Though the table tennis table is rough and simple, it's a really interesting experience," said Qi Feng, taking indoor practice as a challenge.

Like Qi's family, many Chinese families figured out creative ways to pass the time at home.

Zhang Mengmeng, a six-grade primary school student, is skipping rope on a mat.

"The mat is to reduce the noise," Zhang said.

Influenced by the virus outbreak, Zhang's school postponed the new semester without a specific reopening date. Through the online teaching provided by the school, Zhang can take classes such as math and Chinese online, but not physical education, which used to be her favorite.

To make up for it, Zhang's parents encouraged their daughter to do simple physical exercises including rope skipping and aerobics dancing.

"I've downloaded a lot of videos from the internet to teach her aerobics. Every evening after dinner, we follow the teacher in the video to dance," said Zhang's mother.

Young Chinese in many places around the country also enjoy various online resources to enrich their lives and enjoy the fun brought by physical exercise.

Dressed in sportswear, the famous world gymnastics champion Mo Huilan performs a set of aerobics on a livestreaming platform provided by Youku, a Chinese Youtube-like video website. Two of her nephews are following her actions step by step.

According to Mo, the set of aerobics she performed is specially designed by her, for children.

"I think children should do physical exercises at the age of three. It would strengthen their physical and mental health, and improve their immunity." During the live streaming, Mo said.

Recently, Youku invited several world champions to give lectures on indoor exercises, providing free training courses for children across the country.

In a video catching wide attention on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, a young man demonstrates some basic stretching actions and explains the proper way to do them.

The man in the video, surnamed Song, is a senior middle-high school P.E. teacher in Heze City, East China's Shandong Province. His school has also postponed the new semester due to the epidemic. He came up with the idea of online teaching, and the video quickly grew in popularity.

"The epidemic urges students and their parents to attach more importance to keeping fit," said Li Shaocheng, a professor with the Department of P.E. at Lanzhou University, Gansu Province.

"Stay-at-home fitness also reflects that Chinese people are quite optimistic during challenging times, and it has become vogue recently," Li said. "But both parents and children must be aware of possible dangers, and choose suitable ways of indoor exercises."

XinhuaShen Yi

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