China Fitness Trends, ultimate frisbee, china fitness

5 Fitness Trends Sweeping China and Getting Chinese Youth in Shape

From ultimate frisbee to skiing and dancing, here’s how people in China are getting fit, staying healthy, and having fun

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7:55 AM HKT, Thu February 23, 2023 1 mins read

China is emerging as a significant player in the fitness market. In 2020 alone, the industry generated 2.74 trillion RMB (400 billion USD) in revenue, and the number has been steadily increasing since then. As interest in healthier lifestyles grows, young people with more disposable income seek new, fun, and sometimes unexpected ways to become more active.

And since we at RADII love a good listicle, here are five super-hot fitness trends currently sweeping China.

1. Ultimate Frisbee

The sudden rise of the ultimate frisbee in China may come as a surprise to some, but the reasons behind its popularity are pretty simple. For one, the barrier to entry for the sport is low. As people look for ways to socialize post-pandemic, an easy-to-learn group sport is a perfect way to do so.

China Fitness Trends, ultimate frisbee, china fitness

Group of friends at a frisbee game. Image via Xiaohongshu

Moreover, influencers on Chinese social media, such as Xiaohongshu, one of China’s top lifestyle platforms, have marketed the sport as part of a trendy lifestyle, appealing to users’ aesthetic sensibilities by posting pictures with brightly colored discs and workout clothes.

2. Skiing

Winter sports, especially skiing, have experienced astronomic growth in China thanks to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and star athletes from the Chinese national team like Su Yuming and Eileen Gu, whose impressive performances dominated Chinese media headlines during the international sporting event.

China Fitness Trends, skiing, china fitness

Chinese kids preparing to hit the slopes. Image via Depositphotos

Skiing is most popular amongst young Chinese professionals, but parents in major cities are also encouraging their children to get involved.

There are even indoor skiing simulators in malls that allow people to practice during the off-season.

3. Recreational Dance Classes

Recreational dance studios have popped up across China, offering classes in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, and many other dance styles. The activity’s popularity surge is partly due to the rise of idol culture in East Asia and the growing appreciation for the beauty of dance.

Luvia Yao, a sophomore in college in Shanghai, has been attending recreational dance classes in the city since 2022. She enjoys having a healthy hobby and making friends through the activity.

“I feel like I’m working on something I love,” she says.

For many participants, dancing and performing are not just a means of staying fit but also a form of artistic expression.

4. Yoga

Though yoga has long had a presence in China due to its close proximity to India, its recent boom in popularity can be attributed to digitalization. And unlike other activities listed here, yoga has spread to China’s rural areas.

Woman practicing yoga

Yogis show off their skills. Image via Xiaohongshu

In conjunction with the rise of yoga — or perhaps the cause of the trend itself — the brand Lululemon has also seen a massive surge in sales in China, with the country currently standing as its second-largest market.

5. Cycling

Seen as both a fun way to explore a city and exercise, cycling has become especially popular among Chinese youth. Bike sales have risen 46.4% since the pandemic, and a related hashtag has garnered more than 121.5 million views on Xiaohongshu.

China Fitness Trends, cycling, china fitness

A biking enthusiast shows the items they bring on their daily rides. Image via Xiaohongshu

Bikes have long enjoyed popularity in China as a transportation method. In 1996, there were 523 million bicycles in the country, while there were more than 197 bikes per 100 urban households three years prior.

Cover image via Depositphotos

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