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Chinese martial arts help Cubans deal with COVID-19 lockdown

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-04-08 09:00
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Children participate in an event to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of the Cuban School of Wushu and Qigong in Havana, Cuba on Oct 22, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Aleida Chavez, 69, is one of thousands of Cubans who practice ancient Chinese martial arts to help them stay in shape and even maintain mental health, especially in times of hardship.

With partial lockdown of Cuba's capital Havana amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chavez practices her routines more fervently than ever, but instead of attending the Cuban School of Wushu and Qigong in the city's Chinatown, where she has gone for more than seven years, she practices at home.

"Chinese martial arts make me feel not only healthy but relaxed. I forget about the coronavirus and day-to-day problems for a while," Chavez said.

"I am a senior citizen, but feel energetic," she said, adding "I encourage my relatives and close friends to join this exciting world."

Chavez, who lives with her husband and daughter in a small apartment in the La Lisa district on the outskirts of Havana, has adapted her routines to the smaller quarters, since authorities asked residents to stay home and avoid public gatherings in a bid to contain the outbreak.

According to Roberto Vargas Lee, president of the school, with gyms and sports centers closed during the lockdown, more Cubans are turning to the Chinese martial arts.

"Chinese martial arts are never forgotten. They allow people to remain in harmony with nature and take care of their bodies while strengthening their minds," Vargas said.

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