Instead of visiting scenic spots, Wang Yingying took part in a 10-kilometer run in Central China's Wuhan, Hubei province during China's recent National Day holiday.
Wang signed up for the race in early September. "This is my first time running a 10-km race. I want to challenge myself," said the 29-year-old Wang. "I used to go sightseeing during vocations, but now I care more about sports activities."
After the outbreak of COVID-19, Wang stayed at home in Wuhan for months, and the lockdown experience changed her understanding of life. "Health counts most. I should cherish every moment and exercise more," said Wang.
After her community lifted entry restrictions, Wang resumed regular running and rope skipping. "Earlier this year, few sports arenas were available, so I began to skip rope. It requires little space and I work my muscles at home," she said.
The running event Wang participated in was organized by the Wuhan Sports Center, which had been converted into a makeshift hospital in February to treat COVID-19 patients. After several rounds of thorough disinfection, the venue reopened to the public recently.
During the eight-day National Day holiday, the Wuhan Sports Center organized a number of activities, including running races, sports training, and sports exhibitions to welcome visitors back. There, people can play badminton, try rock climbing, ice hockey and other sports.
"The number of participants exceeded my expectation. From 9 am to 8 pm, every slot was almost fully booked," said Wang Jun, a staff member of the Wuhan Sports Center, who estimated that around 1,000 people visit the venue every day. "I can see that people's enthusiasm for fitness surged after the epidemic," he added.
Carrying a 20-liter hiking bag and two trekking poles, He Ping from Shanghai followed a 30-person hiking group to the Shennongjia Forestry District in Hubei. She hiked and camped in the mountains for two days during the holiday.
In Shanghai, He has to show her health code and have her temperature measured when entering her community and office. This experience helped her to realize that "Good health is the foundation of everything. A strong body can help me better resist viruses. And we have to be alive to do what we love," said the 26-year-old He.
As the epidemic waned in China, He made five hikes in Shanghai, Suzhou, Ya'an and other cities when she was free. Usually, she walked more than 20 kilometers and climbed over one kilometer on a hiking day.
"Every time after hiking, my body is tired but my spirit is high. And I can feel that my physical endurance has improved a lot after several hikes," He said.
Talking about her choice of hiking in Hubei, He said: "Shennongjia is one of the most popular places that hikers seek out in China. Also, I would also like to visit my friends in Hubei and see how the hard-hit province recovered from the epidemic."
According to He, the busy streets filled with cars and visitors were no different from the Wuhan she had visited three years ago. "I am really glad to see this myself," she added.
Around 150 kilometers away from the provincial capital Wuhan is a city named Qianjiang. There, a sports dance competition kicked off on Oct 7. This was the first championship of its kind in the city. More than 400 contestants participated in over 40 events including street dancing, Latin dance and square dance.
In many parks and squares of Qianjiang, teenagers and middle-aged men seized the last day before the contest to practice their dances. And the referees were also taking training courses to learn the scoring standards.
Luo Yong, 28, a hip-hop dance instructor, gave up his vocation to help over 40 students to prepare for the competition. Meanwhile, as a coach, he also learned how to score in the training courses.
"The life in Qianjiang has resumed, so have been sports events," said Luo. "And in recent months, many parents have sent their children to my training school, saying that dancing would help them lose weight after months of staying at home."
According to Tian Feng, deputy director of Qianjiang's culture and tourism bureau, as more citizens begin to embrace sports events, it requires the city to innovate and improve their sports offerings.
"Such sports training and contests during the holiday have enriched people's lives and provided them opportunities to improve themselves," Tian said.