HCM CITY — From 5am to 7am every day a 70-year-old man whose nickname is Năm plays badminton with other seniors in a small yard near Tân Phú District’s Nguyễn Sơn Street.
Six people are divided into two teams and play each other.
He told Việt Nam News, “It is very important to keep our body healthy and improve strength and flexibility. By playing in the early morning we can enjoy the fresh air.”
Nearby streets and the roof of the Phú Thạnh apartment building are crowded with adults and children jogging, playing football and other sports early morning and afternoon every day.
During weekends the numbers rise even further.
To enjoy larger spaces, many people choose parks to exercise.
Bảo Yến also of Tân Phú said: “I recognise the importance of exercising in the mornings for my health. After exercises I feel good.”
She often practises yi jin jing, an ancient exercise from China involving smooth, gentle movements that flex the spine and invigorate the limbs and internal organs.
She also jogs.
Gymnasiums are also attractive places for many people to exercise, and more and more are opening around the city.
But Mai Bá Hùng, deputy head of the city Department of Culture and Sport, said only 31.5 per cent of the city’s population exercised for three times a week during six months last year.
The number of people not doing any exercise is high, he told a meeting held on March 12 to review the department’s activities last year.
According to the Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, the city has built cultural houses in each commune and ward, but most fail to get locals in.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, head of the Department of Health, said that the average biological age of Vietnamese is 74, but the healthy age is only 67.
According to the Ministry of Health, health depends 30 per cent on one’s genes, 40 per cent on exercising, 20 per cent on the environment, and 10 per cent on medical assistance.
City People’s Committee chairman Nguyễn Thành Phong instructed the department to launch campaigns to persuade more and more people to exercise to improve their health.
Assoc Prof Nguyễn Thy Khuê of the department of endocrinology at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy warned that an unhealthy lifestyle without much physical activity or exercise increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes.
Other health experts added that diseases related to the heart, cancers of the breast and intestine and obesity are also caused by lack of proper physical activity and exercise.
The Ministry of Health has launched the Việt Nam Health Programme to persuade everyone to walk or jog 10,000 steps a day and acquire the habit of exercising regularly.
By 2025 Việt Nam aims to reduce by 10 percentage points the number of people lacking physical activity and ensure less than 15 per cent of people are obese and less than 30 per cent have hypertension. — VNS