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UPDATED: April 23, 2014
20,000 Enthusiasts Participate in Beijing International Running Festival

Spring is the time to shake off the winter blues and go outdoors to exercise. Nearly 20,000 enthusiasts from home and abroad turned out at Tiananmen Square for the Beijing International Running Festival on April 20.

The race is open to all whether you're a kid, or a senior citizen. Or come from a galaxy far, far away.

While the runners are going for a personal best, many people are still lying in bed, promising themselves to get some exercise tomorrow.

"In some countries, many people embrace sport and exercise as a life-long habit. In China, especially for young people, exercise feels more like a burden. One reason is that Chinese face heavier a work load, but more importantly, people are simply not health conscious enough," Huang Guangmin, chief physician of National Institute of Sports , Medicine said.

More money and easy access to fast food means Chinese waistlines are growing faster than the GDP. In 2013, over a third of adults were overweight or obese, twice the figure ten years ago.

Cyberspace puts the world at our fingertips, not our feet. Obesity rates are higher for internet users, half of whom seldom or never exercise.

"70 percent of Chinese are in sub-healthy condition. That means they are more vulnerable to chronic diseases. I've seen some people almost go out of breath after climbing just one flight of stairs. This is how a lack of sports impairs heart function. It will also weaken the immune system and cause digestion problems." Huang said.

(CNTV.cn April 21, 2014)


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