The gym teacher of Đà Nẵng beach

Update: September, 25/2016 - 09:00
Strength and endurance: Anh (right) carefully takes notes about each person’s practice sessions. — VNS Photos Thanh Trần
Viet Nam News

The sight of people crawling along Da Nang beach on their stomachs in the early morning draws the attention of passers-by. It is all part of the novel free exercise classes being run by 33-year-old Do Quang Anh to improve his community’s health. Thanh Trần reports.

It was after 5am when the sun started to scatter its first delicate rays, but the Sơn Trà beach in the central city of Đà Nẵng was already thronged with people doing morning exercises. Some were lying down and propped themselves up with their arms, others crawled on their stomach, drawing the attention of passers-by.

The exercise, called “the creeping cat”, is one of the daily routines of the free gym class on the beach operated by 33-year-old Đỗ Quang Anh from Nại Hiên Đông Ward in Sơn Trà District. Anh’s gym is open to all.

When he was in Hà Nội, Anh said, he used to attend several gym clubs but was dissatisfied with the attention he got from the instructors, despite the high fee he paid. He then quit and started to run around the city’s West Lake until he accidentally learned about a special gym of foreigners.

“They used the simplest equipment for exercises affecting the whole body. I dared to attend it only once a month due to the high tuition to learn about the exercises and instruction, then trained myself at home,” Anh recalls.

In mid 2015 he moved to Đà Nẵng City. Realising that the environment of the coastal city was favourable for physical fitness training, he thought about introducing such useful exercises to everyone.

After months of creating simple equipment like steel sticks and bags of sand, he invited the public to join him in practising.

At first, only a few came. When passers-by stopped to look, he would invite them to join. From trying just for fun, more and more people became interested in the simple but exciting exercises, inviting their acquaintances to join.

When Ánh’s gym class had a considerable number of participants, he arranged a regular schedule. Accordingly, the class is held every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30am.

Some days dozens of people appear, from high school students to the elderly who can be seen gripping horizontal bars, jogging while carrying sand bags or pulling ropes. The classes are free of charge because Anh’s aim is to improve the community’s health, not to earn money.

A small notebook, in which he carefully writes down each person’s amount of practise, is always open.

Anh explains that exercise scientifically, using a medium amount of strength, provides the best results.

The creeping cat: one of the daily morning exercises of the free gym class on the beach operated by 33-year-old Đỗ Quang Anh from Nại Hiên Đông Ward in Sơn Trà District.

Anh also has specific exercises for people in different physical conditions. For example, “the creeping cat” exercise will effectively help overweight people burn up fat.

“There was too much fat in my abdomen, but now it has nearly disappeared,” says Trần Thanh Bình. “Only after attending Anh’s gym class have I truly understood how hard serious morning exercises are. All the body parts have to be involved in the exercise, from hands, legs, back to abdomen; however, I feel much healthier.”

Just finishing the push-ups and handstands, a group of high school students excitedly announce that they have achieved the most visible changes in their bodies, with tight arm, leg, shoulder, chest and abdomen muscles.

Hoàng Quang Danh, 55, has also clearly seen changes in his body since joining the class.

“My hands and legs were exhausted during the very first days. Now they have become much stronger and more flexible,” Danh says while taking a break from gripping the bars.

Anh says many local people do all kinds of morning exercises on the beach, but free-styled exercises only help the hand and leg muscles and blood circulation. However, those wanting to be truly healthy must feel tired after the exercises.

“After training for a while, the trainees tell me they have dared to take over strenuous work, like carrying or pulling heavy objects. They have not complained about backache, which proves that they have really become stronger and have more endurance,” Anh says.

In this special free gym class on the beach, there seems no distance between the young and old. All do similar exercises and enthusiastically support and encourage their classmates.

“Therefore, we never get bored and always feel strong and happy,” Danh says. —VNS