Culture Insider: How ancient people exercised their bodies
An image of Hu Yanzan [File photo]
Hu Yanzan: cold bath
Ancient scholars liked fitness so much, and so did military officers. There were two general-inherited large families in Northern Song Dynasty, and one of them was the Hu Family. According to historical records, General Hu Yanzan from the Hu Family trained his children in the snowy winter by pouring cold water on them as they stood outside.
There was an annual festival in November during the early Tang Dynasty (618-907) called "Pouring cold", where a batch of strong men, nearly naked, sang and danced in the street while crowds poured cold water on them. The festival, a sacrifice to god, was thought to be helpful for body building.
During the Song Dynasty, Hu Yanzan recovered the tradition by removing the singing and dancing parts and keeping the pouring cold water part, as a way to exercise people's physical bodies.