March 15, 2009

Jess thinks China has Canada beat in Public Health and Fitness

Having obtained my undergrad in Human Nutritional Sciences and been privy to many a discussion on how to increase public health and fitness, I feel I can recognize a good health initiative when I see it.  We have seen around the city these outdoor setups (beside busy highways, outside of shops and restaurants) with workout equipment in the style of playground materials.  They look the same way that a digging machine would look in a child's sandbox in a Canadian park, but the variety of machines is amazing.  Rowing machines, bicycles, walking/cross-country skiing machines, and many more (some of which are quite unrecognizable but fun anyway).  The most amazing part is that you see people of all ages on all of these things, dutifully working out, right in the middle of busy public places!  I don't think anyone would use them if they were in Canada!

So when we went to the park yesterday we were quite pleased to see one of these fitness stations set up there.  Two rousing matches of basketball were happening with the competitors breathing hard and sweating.  So we figured we would treat our blog viewers to a tour of Jess' public workout.  The reason I look so strange in most of these pictures is that I was laughing pretty hard and the wind was blowing my hair all over the place (so it wasn't nearly as frazzled as it looks!).

Walking Machine?

The "Walking Machine" is quite crazy.  Once you start swinging your legs in it you can't stop because the momentum is so fast.  I think its purpose is to keep your legs limber because you have to be flexible.  It feels hilarious to have your legs wildly swinging with unnatural fluidity!  That is the reason why I am laughing so crazily in that picture.
Skiing Machine

Rowing Machine

This picture I won't add, but at the end of the workout, there are also massage machines (rolling bumpy bars that you can slide up and down your back and legs with ease).  A complete package!  As long as you don't mind doing it in crowds of people and risking being hit by the flying basketballs and rowdy players!  We had a lot of fun!
Ab-Master Ari

We couldn't believe how many families we saw in the park yesterday, exercising, playing and generally having a good time.  In Beijing you also see a lot of eighty year olds riding their bikes (as slow as you please!) in the middle of five lane busy traffic.  I think its great!  Especially considering how many campaigns I saw created in university, designed to get elderly people into exercise programs.  The research behind being active, if possible (even at 80 years of age), strongly shows better health.  People experience fewer falls and bone breaks, and a generally increased quality of life.  Watching the Chinese elderly, I would be inclined to agree!  They are wreathed with smiles as they mosey along at their comfortable pace!  I love it!

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