Hong Kongers embrace confined space workouts during pandemic - GulfToday

Hong Kongers embrace confined space workouts during pandemic


Alison Yuen takes a fitness class which was recorded by her personal trainer, as her dog sits nearby.

In an empty park overshadowed by Hong Kong's cramped apartment blocks, personal trainer Kristen Handford presses record on her phone and begins a workout for clients trying to stay fit at home during the coronavirus pandemic.


"Alright guys, we'll get started with just a 10 minute body workout that you can do at home in a small space," she says at the start of a video which will later be sent to clients.


It is a scene now being repeated around the globe.


More than 3.4 billion people have been called on or forced by authorities to stay at home, around 44 percent of the world population, according to a count based on a database.


space2 YogaUP founder Chaukei Ngai demonstrates the Revolved High Lunge Twist (Parivrtta Ashtachandrasana).


Many are wondering how they can stay healthy during the weeks -- and possibly months -- of self-isolation that lie ahead.


Hong Kongers, who live in some of the world's smallest apartments, say it can be done.


 'Get moving'


Hong Kong only began enforcing social distancing last week.


But the virus crossed over from the Chinese mainland in January and many inhabitants were self-isolating long before the pandemic reached Europe and the United States.


Yuen regularly attends Handford's online classes. But she also checks in with friends on the increasingly popular Zoom video app for quick workout sessions.


space3 Personal trainer Kristen Handford, 33, records a fitness class for her clients in Discovery Bay.


Yuen's house is bigger than the average Hong Kong apartment but the space to exercise is little more than a few square metres which she often has to compete for with her 30 kilo (66 pound) golden labradoodle Whelan.


 Marathons and YouTube stars


Fitness buffs have found a host of creative ways to keep up their exercise regimen during lockdowns.


Multiple people around the world -- including a man in Hong Kong -- have even managed to run marathons inside their homes.


But experts say just a simple 10-20 minute daily workout can help stave off boredom and keep people active.


One global breakout star of the pandemic has been Joe Wicks, a 33-year-old British fitness coach.


space4 YogaUP founder Chaukei Ngai (top C) is seen leading a group of students as they appear on her laptop screen.


Stay in touch


Chaukei Ngai, 40, who now broadcasts online from her YogaUP studio in Hong Kong, says self-isolation doesn't have to mean the end of coming together in groups.




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She has found that shorter 30 minute sessions were especially popular for those balancing work and family from the kitchen table.


"They have family and kids at home... it's harder for them to take one hour of quiet space," she said.


Canadian instructor Handford, who isn't currently charging for her live broadcasts, said she and many other instructors face a tough future if the pandemic continues.


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