Sunday, May 19, 2024

China exercise fanatic, 70, amazes social media with body, mind of man in his 20s

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A 70-year-old grandfather in China is so enthusiastic about fitness and mountain climbing that he has the physique – and the athletic abilities – of a man half his age.

Zou Heping, from Chongqing city in southwest China, uses the nearby Gele Mountain as his natural, outdoor gymnasium.

Standing at 678 metres (2,224 ft) above sea level, the mountain is a gathering place for sports and fitness enthusiasts. It is also equipped with fitness equipment, parks, and hiking trails.

Zou’s daily fitness routine includes weighted pull-ups, rope or pole climbing, handstands, and the most significant activity of all, scaling the mountain.

The 70-year-old uses a self-styled, alligator-style crawling technique to make his way down the mountain. Photo: Shangyou News

With more than 2,500 steps from the foot to the summit, it takes him an hour to ascend and 50 minutes to descend.

Zou has devised unique climbing techniques which include frog-jumping uphill and an alligator-style crawling on the way down.

“Crawling doesn’t hurt the knees, it trains limb coordination,” he said.

Even young people cannot match the septuagenarian. Some have tried, but had to give up, he said.

Zou’s fitness journey began in 1979 when he realised the importance of running while reading a magazine.

He then started running uphill, a routine he has maintained for 45 years.

In the early days, Zou would wake up at 5:30 am every day and carry a 20kg (44lbs) load of water on his run before going to work at 8am.

Now, he runs every day, rain or shine, often topless and barefoot.

Despite his age Zou has black hair and six-pack abs.

Revealing the secret to maintaining his youthful physique, Zou said: “Life lies in running, and the most important thing is to exercise, preserve your fitness and develop a good lifestyle.”

He has abstained from alcohol or cigarettes for four decades and always gets to bed early.

Zou’s punishing daily routine, which has spanned more than four decades, is backed up by his overall healthy lifestyle. Photo: Shangyou News

His story has inspired many on mainland social media.

“Grandpa Zou is amazing, his core strength is incredible, at 70, his physical status is like a 17-year-old,” said one online observer.

“Age is never a limit. Indeed, life lies in exercise. Only a healthy lifestyle can keep us forever young,” said another.

“I am not even 30 years old yet, but I feel like this grandfather would knock me down with just one punch,” added a third.

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