Young people get healthy to ward off infections

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Twenty-year-old university student Liu Yiyang runs three or four times a week on the streets of Beijing despite the frosty winter weather.

"I usually run about 5 kilometers. In the beginning, the cold is very challenging, but as my body gets warmer, I get used to it and become very focused and refreshed afterward," he said.

His interest in exercising grew after recovering from COVID-19, as he realized the importance of a healthy body in combating the disease. "I only had mild symptoms and a low fever, and I know it is not because I was lucky but that I exercised regularly before."

Like Liu, more young people have developed a stronger interest in exercising and a healthy lifestyle as they realize how fragile life can be after three years of the COVID-19 epidemic.

They have paid more attention to healthy eating, good sleeping habits, regular exercise and their psychological well-being.

Liu, who attends the North China University of Technology, also does push-ups regularly, and to achieve better results he watches exercise tutorials on short-video platforms.

"People have told me that I look more positive and upbeat after working out more often. As a senior undergraduate student, I also rely on running to reduce the pressure from finding a satisfactory job," he said, adding that any bad emotion can be cured by a 5-km run.

Ye Yuhan, 20, a second-year undergraduate student from Northeastern University in Shenyang, Liaoning province, said he and many of his classmates have developed a habit of exercising regularly.

He also only had mild symptoms from COVID and recovered very soon, which he also attributed to healthy living.

"I cycle for about 10 km every day, at a low speed, so that it is not too tiring, and I can sweat a little and have good digestion," he said.

"With my earphones on and listening to my favorite music, it is very relaxing."

He also drinks plenty of water and makes sure he eats less oily and salty food.

"Many elderly people have died from the disease, which makes me realize that life is fleeting, and I need to pay more attention to my health and cherish the time spent with my family."

Hong Xiaoning, 32, said the three years of the epidemic made her more aware of the importance of being healthy, both physically and mentally.

After working for almost 10 years in Shanghai, her body started to develop small problems, such as cervical pain, low immunity and digestive issues.

She has gone to the gym almost every day since November and regularly sees a traditional Chinese medicine specialist.

She only drinks hot water, refrains from staying up late, makes sure she wears enough clothes and stays warm, goes to physical checkups and cancer screening and sees dentists regularly.

"I have always believed that life is fragile, and the epidemic has made me pay more attention to my health."

As someone working in the insurance industry, she knows how painful and costly major diseases can be, so it is important for young people to develop healthy living habits, even though many think that they are unlikely to suffer from major diseases, she said.

"Young people often say they do not have time for exercise, but I believe it is too important for us, so we need to find time for it, like half an hour in the morning or one hour after work."

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