YINCHUAN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Wang Yifei has put on weight recently after isolating at home for over one month during the COVID-19 epidemic. Repeatedly watching videos of Kobe Bryant didn't relieve but intensified his urge to return to basketball playground.
"When touching the basketball hoop again, I feel extremely excited," said Wang, a 23-year-old college student living in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The long-time period of isolation has caused many people to lose fitness and slip out of shape. "I thought I would dunk like Kobe, but my weight didn't allow it to happen," Wang joked. "I will come back tomorrow and play it again with my friends."
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Chinese people across the country have been advised to stay at home. With the epidemic situation in China turning positive, some stadiums and gyms with good ventilation can begin to resume operations in areas with a low epidemic risk to meet people's needs for exercise.
Some sports fields in Nanjing, Hangzhou, Changchun, Shanghai and other metropolises have resumed operations. By March 12, nearly 590 gyms and stadiums reopened in Shanghai. Measures for epidemic prevention and control such as disinfection, limiting the number of customers and taking body temperature are strictly adopted.
On March 15, Ningxia Stadium resumed operation under the guidance of the local government. Many people waited outside with rackets or balls in their hands before the door opening.
"People have constantly phoned us and asked when we would reopen these days. They are extremely eager for exercise," said Tu Men, chief of the Fitness Section in Ningxia Stadium.
After scanning the QR code, Wang and his friend Zhang Yizhe had their body temperatures checked and their hands sanitized before entering the stadium. Both of them study in Wuhan. "The situation in Wuhan is getting better. I hope we can return to school soon and eat spicy crayfish with our friends," Zhang said.
The beginning of the new term has been postponed by the epidemic, and Zhai Feifei, a 27-year-old PE teacher of a middle school in Yinchuan, has been busy with teaching online. "I send fitness videos recorded by myself at home to my students to follow, such as push-up, sit-up, deep squat and leapfrog, and students like them very much," said Zhai.
Knowing that the Hubin Gym in Yinchuan has been reopened, Zhai instantly contacted his friends to play table tennis together. Some 20 people are playing badminton or table tennis in the large indoor space, and people coming late are waiting for a vacancy outside. All of them are wearing face masks.
"This is my first time exercising outside my home after the epidemic outbreak. I feel free because I can play at will without worrying that the noise may annoy my neighbor," Zhai said.
The silence lasting for over one month on outdoor squares and parks has been broken. In the evening glow, young people in hip-hop clothes are going skateboarding or roller skating. Accompanied by loud music, some teenagers are breakdancing. A volleyball is passed among several youngsters. Middle-aged couples pass by with their dogs walking in front.
The public fitness equipment on the sidewalk becomes the elders' favorite. A gray-haired grandpa is switching his body forward and backward with hands grasping a horizontal bar, and some grandmas are twisting their waists and necks.
These days, wearing face masks while doing exercise outside has become a daily routine for many people. "I hope the epidemic will finish soon, and we can exercise without wearing face masks," Zhai said.