Saturday, June 09, 2007

Off Topic: Fitness in Vietnam

This post doesn’t have anything to do with educational technology, but I just wanted to post something about my travels to Vietnam related to how fit the people are. I think it is safe to say that physical fitness is somewhat of a national obsession, a very healthy one at that. It is especially impressive that so many of the elderly people seem to engage in physical activity for the purpose of staying fit.

Early in the morning in almost any public place you will see many Vietnamese people engaged in different forms of exercise. You’ll see Tai chi, badminton, jogging, stretching, and my personal (new) favorite – foot shuttlecock (Da Cau in Vietnamese). I shot some video back in March of some of the shuttlecock players next to the Saigon River and across the street from the Majestic Hotel. You can get a small taste of the flavor of the game in this short clip.

Here's another video from someone else where the players use a net similar to baminton.

I really wanted to find some foot shuttlecocks to bring back the U.S. with me, but I almost left for home before I had a chance to look for them. As luck would have it, I happened across a street vendor who had some very inexpensive ones for sale. I’m sure that they make some of higher quality, but I thought the cheapo-s would be good enough to start with.

Here are a few other photos of the locals exercising near the Saigon River.

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