How do Taiwanese people exercise?

This might sound like such an odd question, but do Taiwanese people get any exercise? Most of the Taiwanese buisness people I talk to that work in Taipei work so much (like 12hours a day, Mon. through Friday) that I don’t see how they would have enough time to go and exercise.

The simplest answer is that they simply don’t exercise. At least the majority. That would explain quite a bit of things… just sayin. :stuck_out_tongue:

Funny. I was just about to start a thread on the subject of exercise, so I might as well put my observation here.

I don’t think it’s a matter of lack of time. Lots of Taiwanese have lots of free time on their hands and lots of Taiwanese excercise. Just go to any neighborhood park, any local mountain trails, any riverside bike path, and you’ll see lots of old folks, younk folks, thin folks, fat folks and fit folks, dancing, taichi-ing, cycling, hiking, clapping their hands vigorously and pounding their backs against trees. But not my wife. Which led to my realization. . . out on my bike ride by the river this morning.

When I was a kid, in america, in my family with it’s germanic roots, we were always hiking, backpacking, skiing, waterskiing, cycling, swimming, kayaking, or doing some other vigorous outdoor activity with the family and friends, then all the sports started – baseball, soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, cross-country, etc. – which lasted through college, and still when I visit the folks they’re taking regular vigorous hikes despite being almost 80.

So that’s where I come from. That’s what was etched into my consciousness since childhood, and that’s why I feel fat, lazy and guilty if I lay about for days, weeks, or months without hardly getting out, gradually getting more and more out of shape. And that’s why I finally said a few months ago I don’t give a damn how busy I am at work I HAVE to start exercising again, so I am now riding my bike at 6 am maybe 5 days a week, before work, and loving it. That’s why I know there IS no valid excuse for not exercising. If health and fitness are important to you you WILL find a way to do it. Otherwise you’ll just make excuses and continue to put it off. Which brings me back to my wife.

She didn’t grow up with any of those activities. Her parents were typical, poor, uneducated, hardworking locals who never gave a thought to exercise personally and never helped instill that consciousness in their children.

So, just as my wife didn’t grow up in culture of reading and discussion of stimulating but irrelevant academic ideas (like many of us from the West may have), so she doesn’t care much for such activities, she didn’t get the notion of exercise as a critical component of ones life drilled into every fiber of her being from childhood, so it will always be fairly foreign, unnatural and difficult for her.

It’s one thing to try to inspire some Westerner who grew up with sports and exercise, but is going through a lazy phase, to get his ass off the couch. But to inspire a person who never learned all of that is something else. One must gradually coax, coerce, beg, cajole, lead, deceive and somehow attempt to inspire them into it as if they were just a fat lazy kid sitting in front of the tube, which is basically what they are.

Anyway, that was one of my thoughts for the day. Now the hard part. Trying to help her to overcome that void in her childhood so she doesn’t become a fat old lady like her mom, which is the obvious destination unless she somehow learns something different.

No offense intended by that all. Just an observation on different cultures and upbringings.

I used to think that people didn’t exercise until I stopped going out at night and actually started hanging out at the parks and next to the river during daytime. People are out all day on their bicycles, on the tennis and basketball courts, playing with their kids and walking their dogs. Up here in Hsin Tien people are enjoying the pool and hitting the streets jogging. I was amazed to see how many people were actually out on the streets around sunset.
I guess it’s a question of location…never saw too much of this along Roosevelt Road…

I’d wager that a much higher proportion of senior/elderly folk here exercise regularly than in the west (well Australia at least). The elderly here seem to be much more able and active.

I’m also noticing more and more cyclists out and about near me (Zhanghua), especially on the mountain roads. There is a bit of a bike path by a river nearby but no one ever uses it (it’s very new so perhaps no one knows about it). But on the mountain roads, especially 139 which is long, fast and has little traffic and a couple of decent climbs, there are a lot of Taiwanese 7 days a week.

There have always been active hiking clubs, and these days biking has really taken off. When I started cycling on the riverside bike paths two years ago there were fewer people out on a Saturday afternoon than there are now most evenings after 10pm.

In my neigborhood we have had a path along the dike for years. It was pretty rough and overgrown on the edges and ocassionaly cobras and bamboo vipers would be on the paths. When they dredged the river a few years ago, they got rid of all the shitty little farms and replaces them with parks. They landscaped the area alogn the dike and made it very pleasant to walk along. Now, it is filled with people, even business people taking a quick stroll after they park their car. There are also dozens of joggers every night and kids out playing at all hours. It’s liek a real neighborhood now.

So build it and the Taiwanese will come and use it. Or as twonavels said, you have to be in the right area. People who want to be active and want their children to be active move to areas like this.

If you hit the trails in the hills and mountains around Taipei on the weekends, you’ll almost always see a fair number of other people out hiking and enjoying nature.

I think it’s probably like it is in the West. My observations there are that most people don’t exercise nearly as much as they should, and that’s a development of modern life. People from certain backgrounds are far more likely to exercise than others. Obesity is, afterall, a disease of the poor and un-educated. When I first came here, I thought no one exercised, but that’s because I came from an affluent suburb where even the guys who worked long hours as doctors and businessmen still worked out, and where every second kid was on his or her school’s rowing team. Everyone exercised, so anything less was a lot less in my mind.

Having said that, I would say that exercise is far more popular with older people here. Younger people here are lazier I’d say, and they’re more interested in their makeup or online gaming. Girls, especially, have an aversion to physically exerting themselves. In many ways, it’s actively discouraged since most guys here don’t want “girls with muscles” despite that being a ridiculous concept.

I notice a lot of people exercising now, but that’s only because I hang out in places where you’d reasonably expect people to be doing a similar thing to what I’m doing (eg. surfing/swimming, hiking, etc.). How representative this is of the general populace, I don’t know.

Also, as mentioned, if you go to parks, you’ll see people exercising (albeit, often at odd times), so maybe it’s just a space thing. Of course someone isn’t going to be running through Taiwanese traffic dodging car doors, stray dogs and random vendors camped out anywhere from a store entrance to half way into the road. Environment plays a large part.

My dad was a family doctor in a mining town when I was growing up. Boys played football, girls didn’t, men worked in the pit and needed no exercise, most people got their exercise walking to the pub or the chip shop. We were freaks because we hiked, canoed, skied, etc. Or snobs. Or poofs, of course.
Compared to here, where thousands and thousands of people exercise every day and take it very seriously indeed.

Is that so? It’s a typhoon day. Go out right now and go to your nearest basketball court. See how long you have to wait to get some court time. The court near my house is fully occupied, all day, every day. 6 am - 9 am its the taichi sword lessons and from 9 in the morning until around 2am its fully occupied with basketball, often with people waiting for their turn to get on. The tennis courts nearby are also chockablock providing its not too hot, the field is used for that weird croquet/golf thing the old folks play, again, every day.
Down at Bitan, meanwhile, the cyclists, runners, bladers, etc., are out in force, from before it gets light until long after dark. All around my area you’ll see HUNDREDS – literally hundreds of mountain bikers every single weekend, rain or shine, doing the 60-or-so km Wulai and surrounding area routes.
“Taiwanese people don’t exercise?” I call BULLSHIT!

I see a lot more older people out and about doing their fan dance, tai chi and whatnot. Compare this to old folks in old people homes in the US say. Of course, the West’s sedentary, car-reliant lifestyle has lots of side-effects (cf. to people elsewhere where it’s prohibitive or inconvenient to own a car, and so rely on walking, public transit, bicyling more).

Also, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of hikers in Taiwan. All sorts of middle-age to older folks hiking - it got crowded at some base camps I went to - in freezing wet weather no less. (I don’t see that much in the west, but of course, that’s more because many parks have headcount limits so as to conserve the park better).

And then you see a lot of the gyms actually get quite full. Then again, some of them don’t “exercise”.

I always thought LOADS more people exercised in Taiwan than in the UK. They tend not to do boring stuff like the gym (although that is taking off) ore swim, but there is loads of hiking, taichi and basketball.

I always used to feel like a sloth as a gang of 80 year olds used to hop skip and jump up the mountain near my house, why I dragged my red and sweaty carcass up there…

(and ski-ing is poofy)

Next time leave the fresh kill behind. It’s easier to walk that way and you can always stash it in a tree if you are worried about other predators stealing it.

[quote=“Muzha Man”]
Next time leave the fresh kill behind. It’s easier to walk that way and you can always stash it in a tree if you are worried about other predators stealing it.[/quote]

But I was trying to bury hi…, erm, it.

[quote=“Buttercup”][quote=“Muzha Man”]
Next time leave the fresh kill behind. It’s easier to walk that way and you can always stash it in a tree if you are worried about other predators stealing it.[/quote]

But I was trying to bury hi…, erm, it.[/quote]

Just toss it in Bitan. Perferably when Tommy525 is out paddling around with a date.

My Taiwanese parents-in-law get up every morning at the crack of dawn and, come rain or shine, head off to go mountain hiking with a group of friends. They take stuff with them to cook up a breakfast together at the top of the hill.

Their five daughters represent a variety of Taiwanese exercise habits (or the lack thereof). My wife, the 4th daughter, had a physically active childhood, representing her school in regional shuttlecock-kicking competitions, learning to swim, riding a bicycle, and so on. On our first dates, we went hiking, river-tracing and swimming. She’s been a member of California Fitness Center for many years, enthusiastically attending their yoga, Latin dance, and other classes several times a week. She kept attending the classes even while she was pregnant, though reluctantly stopped for the last few weeks before the birth, and is now fretting at the bit at being temporarily housebound by the demands of our baby daughter, and is longing to get back to those classes.

My eldest sister-in-law understands the importance of regular exercise, which she does mostly on a running machine in her house. My other three sisters-in-law, like their husbands, don’t seem to do any exercise at all, and have never shown any interest in my offers to take them hiking and river-tracing, though they’re all still slender and reasonably vigorous. I think they would be up for it if it weren’t for their kids: the one time when the whole family set off for a stroll together in the countryside, the kids started moaning and complaining and whining to go back almost as soon as we’d started; their parents tried to appease them by picking them up and carrying them, but the kids still weren’t happy, their complaints became more and more strident, and we ended up having to turn around and head back before we’d been out for much more than half an hour.

sandman: Younger people are lazier than older people. I would definitely say old people here do a lot more exercise than their Westernc counterparts. However, aside from playing basketball, I don’t see a lot of people under the age of 25 doing exercise, compared to the oldies. The oldies are always out in force doing everything else like the weird exercises in the park or hiking, but I simply rarely see young people doing anything like that, especially young women. There’s that whole stupid aversion to exercise with a lot of chicks because they supposedly don’t want muscles, which doesn’t make sense anyway since they lack the testosterone to get big, and it also doesn’t make sense because no one (including guys) is going to get big doing any kind of aerobic activity. Surely you can tell by the jelly legs of most girls here that they don’t do any exercise. They may look slim, but a closer inspection will reveal someone who is completely out of shape. I’ve seen on TV where they’ve weighed these chicks and they’re 45kg but have bodyfat percentaged well in excess of 30% and the girls have been in tears when they’ve been told. Silly moles.

Likewise, even surfing, I see a lot of dudes bobbing around in the water or having their pictures taken holding or standing on the surfboards on the beach, but most of them are posing for the camera. Sure, there are some good, energetic surfers here, but most aren’t.

You’re seriously telling me that you see a lot of young women exercising? The chicks I see at the beach are often wearing makeup or completely inappropriate shoes or, at best, they’re splashing around in the shallows.

Furthermore, I’d say the generation of kids coming up now is going to be extremely sedentary and obese. I see a lot of kids in my job (almost 200 new kids per week) and I’d say anywhere up to 25% of them are quite overweight. Too much KFC and Playstation, obviously too little exercise.

One more thing I’d say about comparing the West to Taiwan, is it depends upon what we mean by “the West”. I lived in Slovakia for a while and people there don’t hit the gym, but on the weekends (and often during the weekdays) everyone is out either skiing or snowboarding (and they ice-skate a lot too), or they’re hiking, kayaking, etc. Everyone, at all ages, which is why the women there are genuinely slim and exceptionally hot, not “skinny fat”. It’s the same in much of that region. I met a lot of Austrians hiking in Slovakia, and the Poles and Czechs were out in force doing the same things when I was in their countries.

Omniloquacious: What those kids needed was a good foot up the backside, which is what I would have done if I’d been the parents. Spoilt little fuckers. I went on a hike once, and it was a relatively easy hike. I saw a middle-aged guy literally dragging his screaming, wailing kid up what amounted to one flight of stairs at one point. It made me sick.

Won, du, free, fo
Won, du, free, fo
Won, du, free, fo
Won, du, free, fo

Yes, I’m seriously telling you. Because those are my observations. What a strange question.
I see many many fit young women here, but not generally when I’m out shopping or suchlike. Just like the US, where mallwatching will let you see acres and acres of wobbling morbid obesity, or in Britain, where there’s less of that US excess but most of the women – both young and old – are fat.

sandman: Maybe things are different down here in Taoyuan, but I don’t see a lot of young women exercising. They generally seem to have an aversion to walking a few blocks or flights of stairs even. Also, like I said, back in Australia, I lived in a suburb that was more affluent, so everyone was a health freak. No doubt that has definitely coloured my view.

I think, as mentioned, people confuse weight with bodyfat percentage. They’ll worry about silly things such as BMI, for instance, or clothing sizes. Most Taiwanese would probably consider my girlfriend fat because she’s heavier than the average girl here, but her bodyfat percentage is actually less than a lot of girls who weigh less because she has a go at some exercise, so she has more muscle.


Omniloquacious: What those kids needed was a good foot up the backside, which is what I would have done if I’d been the parents. Spoilt little fuckers. I went on a hike once, and it was a relatively easy hike. I saw a middle-aged guy literally dragging his screaming, wailing kid up what amounted to one flight of stairs at one point. It made me sick.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more! But alas, I can only say what I really think in private to the wife - I’m not allowed to say anything critical about the kids to their mums, because the mums don’t take kindly to hearing anything said against their little darlings. Even the grandparents don’t dare to say a word!

But I’ll be aiming to set the right example with my own little girl, who I intend to take out hiking, swimming, cycling, playing ball in the park, and engaging in all manner of other vigorous outdoor activities from the earliest possible age.