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Body-Building Exercises, Regular Physical Labo

Updated: Thursday, Jun 25,2009, 5:27:02 PM
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Grandma Chen Bingqing, 103 years old, is a Beijing inhabitant. She had earned her living in handicraft work in her youth. After the age of 80 she stays at home to care for her six grandchildren. She is busy from morning to night, neither inactive nor willing to be inactive. Although over 100, she remains hale and hearty. She has good vision, speaks clearly, moves about with ease and takes a stroll every day.

Most urban centenarians are in the habit of doing manual work. In their youth, female centenarians most did spinning and weaving, sewing, mending and laundry work; most male centenarians were peddlers, pedicab drivers and boatmen. Few did heavy physical labour. In old age they mainly do housework. None of them is an idler.

Chen Yanu, a 105-year-old Guangzhou woman, still goes shopping, washes clothes, cooks, and sews, threading needles without spectacles. When she visited her parental home in 1980, she rode in a long-distance bus for six hours and. eager to return home, walked so fast after getting off the bus that her great granddaughter-in-law could not keep up with her. This comes as a result of her doing manual work regularly.

Centenarian Grandpa Liu Shucheng, a gardener at Sichuan University in Chengdu, has tended flowers and plants for decades. He began gardening at the age of 18. Though retired, he still adds soil at the roots of flowers and plants, waters, prunes and applies manure on them every day, rain or sunshine. Thanks to long-term physical labour, the old man still has good vision and hearing, and remains healthy, robust and nimble. He looks like a man in his sixties.

All the above three urban centenarians do long-term manual work that is regular and temperate. This conforms to Sun Simiao's teaching, "The way of mental cultivation lies in frequent minor labour, but one should not be overfatigued or strain oneself beyond one's ability."

Centenarians who are intellectuals usually keep fit by doing physical exercises regularly. Ma Yinchu, a celebrated economist who suffered criticism and persecution in the "cultural revolution" because of his population control theory, lived through all these difficult years to be over 100 years old. He remained a sport lover all his life, and was fond of mountain climbing. At the age of 80 he climbed in high spirits to the Devil's Frown, the highest peak of the Fragrant Hills on the outskirts of Beijing.

When he was about 90 years old his legs were almost paralysed. Nevertheless, he consistently practised walking with crutches in the courtyard. Later, when his legs would no longer function, he supported his body with his hands on a square flower pot rack and walked forward laboriously, step by step. In order to assure that he had walked 6,000 to 7,000 paces every day, he used an ageold method of calculation. He put a given amount of broad beans in his left pocket and after walking over
a certain distance, he shifted a broad bean from the left pocket into the fight one. Only after all broad beans were thus shifted into the right pocket would he stop this exercise.

In 1972, Ma suffered from rectum cancer and had a surgery. After that he could not move about. Sitting in a wheelchair, this 91-year-old man wheeled himself repeatedly around his courtyard.

From youth to old age Professor Ma consistently took cold water baths. He first washed and rubbed his whole body with very hot water and then, soaking his towel in cold water, wrung it dry and rubbed himself until his body became red all over. Adhering to truth, Ma had a lifetime of frustrations, but he was able to live to the age of 100 because he kept doing physical exercises in harmony with the rhythm of his biological clock.

Elderly intellectuals are generally enthusiasts for taijiquan. Wu Tunan, a great taijiquan master, is also a scholar versatile in medical science, literature and archaeology and good at singing and playing music. His longevity is largely owing to his consistent practice of taijiquan. In 1984 at the age of 99 he won a prize at an international taijiquan exhibition in Wuhan.

In his early days Wu Tunan was very weak and suffered from multiple ailments, including pulmonary tuberculosis, infectious hepatitis, epilepsy and enlarged spleen. All the herbal decoctions he took could not help him. In his family he was believed to be doomed, but when he was nine years old his father took him to an imperial physician for treatment. Instead of prescribing medicinal herbs, the physician told the child to learn to practise traditional body-building exercises. So Wu went to learn from a taijiquan master, and showed his diligence and talent. It took him ten years to get rid of all his ailments, becoming for the first time healthy, strong and full of vitality. He graduated with an excellent academic record from the Metropolitan University, predecessor Of Peking University.

To help more people improve their health, Wu Tunan wrote Scientific Taifiquan when he was only 23. Later he published Studies of Taijiquan and The Science of Longevity. He has clone much work for the popularization and development of traditional Chinese body-building exercises.

Wu Tunan's wife used to be feeble in constitution. She practised taijiquan with Wu and was able to rid herself of all ailments. Ten years his junior, she is now in her 90s and still very healthy. She practises taijiquan and takes walks with Wu every day.

Many old city residents faithfully practise qigong, mostly dynamic-quiescent qigong. Peng Yutang, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, contracted pulmonaw tuberculosis at the age of 48 from constant overwork as a silk-reeling worker. He spit blood and was bed-ridden.Later he practised "mind-cultivating dynarnic-quiesccnt qiong" under the guidance of a famous master. He did
it for three years and his lung trouble cleared without medical treatment. From then on he learned the art of traditional Chinese med

Copyright©tcmdiscovery.com,Guilin Sino-western Joint Hospital Chinese Medicine Advisory Departmenticine from the master and became a physician. He continued to practise qigong after his recovery, enabling him to diagnose disease, write prescriptions and walk up to the third floor without panting when he was almost 100 years old.

He Xiqing, 104 years old, a native of Shanghai, holds that one should practise both meditation and active exercise. He became a Buddhist monk at 17 and learned from his master the art of meditation, which was a kind of quiet qigong exercise. He also learned martial arts in Tianjin in his early years. So he has practised quiet qigong and boxing all his life. Now, at the age of 104, he walks for two kilometres every morning from his home to Fuxing Park to practise boxing.

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