There’s a completely different mind-set to “working out” here in Beijing. Forget heading to the gym on your own with your must-get-fit focus and your no-pain, no-gain attitude. Here, locals ease into their exercise and mix it up with a bit of chatting, some laughter and a few games. Working out in Beijing is a much more social affair.
There are hundreds of outdoor exercise areas like this one, all across the city, but here you get the added attraction of being able to look out across the lake as you massage your back, attempt a chin-up, balance on stumps or do whatever the strange-looking machine you’re sitting on will allow your body to do.
Elderly Chinese people come here throughout the day, but this park’s at its busiest early in the morning or in summer during the cooler early evening hours.
Other outdoor exercise parks worth visiting include the very large one in Temple of Heaven Park.
If dancing is more your thing, hop across the opposite side of the lake to Houhai Park. In fact, if you’ve brought your trunks with you, you can swim there.
Houhai Beiyan, just northwest of the large pagoda
Gulou Dajie (1km)