The gym's modern exercise machines can help older gym-goers get fit without the risk of injury. (Ti Gong)
A new senior-friendly gym has opened in Daning Road Community in Shanghai's Jing'an District to cater for elderly exercisers.
The gym is in the old Yanchang neighborhood, where more than half the residents are aged over 60.
The gym is equipped with 10 fitness machines especially designed for older people.
They include massage armchairs that can automatically shake to improve respiratory, digestive and blood circulation systems. Arm workout machines, with built-in sensors, can automatically adjust levels of resistance.
The center also has professional instructors to teach older people how to use the machines and how to exercises the right way.
"I feel warm to be here. It's like my second home. We do exercises together and we chat. Now I am confident that I can live to 100 years old," said Yu Xiudi, 85.
Previously, Yu and her friends could just do stretching exercises their bodies in a small outdoor pavilion as the neighborhood was too old to have a club-like public activity space.
"We took back a rental house and spent nine months renovating it to a gym for the elderly," said community official Wang Yajing.
In Shanghai, older people jogging on the street and dancing at squares are a common sight. But doing exercises in public spaces is not always good as they may bother others and suffer injuries without the proper instruction.
According to a government report released last October, the city's aging population exercises the most, but they know the least about how to exercise the right way.
"Seniors are not suitable to do too much exercises, which can hurt them," said Wang. "But we don't have many senior-friendly gyms. Also, they find many of the ordinary gyms are expensive for them."
The gym, on Lane 1700 Gonghexin Road, opens from 8:30am to 11:30am, 1pm to 5:30pm. It is free of charge.
The city's civil affairs authority said it is encouraging grassroots officials to build senior-friendly gyms if the conditions allow. Currently, senior-friendly fitness machines can be found in many nursing facilities for the elderly.