I had the opportunity to study abroad in China last week! One of the most delightful mornings that I had in China was at the Temple of Heaven Park. It was the first destination once we took an overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing. One of the very first things I saw was an outdoor dance class. It was extremely similar to a Zumba class! Many elderly people were joining in and exercising in the park.
As an avid gym class goer-especially Zumba and Pilates-I was overjoyed to see free exercise classes offered for the community! I was in awe. The Temple of Heaven Park was packed with elderly people singing, doing exercise classes, playing checkers, and even writing poetry!
We joined in on the fun! Britt and Melissa, students on my study abroad program, joined in a game of hackey sack. My roommate, Michelle, and I hopped into a Pilates class and followed along. It was such a lively park. I do not think I have ever seen such a large quantity of elderly people out and about.
It was a big realization of cultural differences between the United States and China-what my study abroad class delved into. The Temple of Heaven Park is a center for the elderly community to be engaged. The encompassing sense of community was inspiring. Seeing people coming together to socialize, exercise, and enjoy their lives was breathtaking. This experience has inspired me to take care of my health and become more engaged in my community, even after I have experienced many years of life.