NW China’s Xinjiang takes fitness to “cloud”

By Li Ya’nan, People’s Daily
Doing fitness at home after a day’s work and then posting the workout on social media is a routine for Liu Pan, a woman from Urumqi, capital of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. She gets more motivated with the likes and comments she receives.
“I did this to lose weight at first, but now I care more about fitness. With moderate exercise and proper diet, I feel a lot more energetic than before,” said the woman.
Liu used to pin her hope on gyms, but only found it difficult to make gym workout a routine. “It’s hardly possible to have enough time for the gym, as I have to take care of my child after work, plus it takes a lot of time on the way,” She explained, adding that since she started working out at home, time is no longer a problem, and she has become a habitual exerciser.   
Nowadays, more and more people are working out at home in Xinjiang, after an online fitness program was initiated in the autonomous region which further stimulated people’s enthusiasm for fitness exercises with its online sports games, livestream instruction and knowledge contests.
The program was jointly launched by Xinjiang’s administration of sports and health commission in January as a way to encourage citizens to fight the COVID-19 with sports.
A total of 1,560 people took part in a gymnastics contest under the program, and members of gymnastics association of Xinjiang were invited to assess the performance of contestants who had sent video clips to the organizer.
The program kicked off its second batch of activities at the end of April, in which videos submitted were exhibited online, and those who received most likes became the winners, said Xinjiang administration of sports.
Apart from the video contest, the program also launched livestream fitness courses and encouraged fitness fans to “clock in” on social media platforms as a symbol of daily attendance.
Fitness enterprises also benefited from the online fitness craze. During the COVID-19 epidemic, fitness trainers of a gym in Xinjiang livestreamed over 100 courses on yoga, folk dance, and Pilates, attracting over 46,000 participants in total. The online courses effectively grew the gym’s membership.
Many fitness enthusiasts in Xinjiang became social sports instructors during the epidemic, including retired woman Xu Baozhu.
Becoming a social sports instructor in 2012, Xu established a 200-member chat group on WeChat during the COVID-19 outbreak where she taught gymnastics and fitness dancing to the members.
“I break down the moves, and then share my demo videos. They also send their own videos to the group for feedbacks,” Xu introduced, adding that she aims to help the members do the right moves and take exercises on a science-based manner.
There are more than 51,000 social sports instructors in Xinjiang, according to the regions’ social sports instructors’ association.
Incomplete statistics indicate that from late January to now, over 6,200 social sports instructors in the region have provided guidance on 34 fitness items, including ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi and shuttlecock, and made more than 1,000 short videos of home workout, attracting over 210,000 people.
Photo taken on February 28 shows Du Xinping, a volunteer at an activity center in Yuli county, Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, livestreams a yoga course for local residents. (Photo by Li Fei/People’s Daily Online)

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