Shanghai: Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she’s being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge.
The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in recent months as her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym bunny in December 2018, Chen lost 14 kilos (30 pounds) in three months and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to.
She has also built up a fan base on social media, clocking up 410,000 followers on TikTok with her impressive exercise routines and encouraging others to follow her example.
.”I will work out as long as I’m still alive. At our age it is not how much money you have, who you are, or how good your children are. You just want a medical record as short as possible,” Chen, who turned 68 this year. For Chen, pumping iron has come late in life. She began going to the gym following a chance meeting with a personal trainer, propelled into action by worries about her deteriorating health and weight gain. Last year, she was given a clear bill of health by doctors, having previously had problems with a fatty liver, high blood pressure and eye cataracts.
Chen, who has a grandson aged 14, recalled the shocked looks she got the first time she walked through the gym door.
“They found it very strange, they don’t usually see people at such an old age who care about their health so much,” she says.