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May 7, 2012

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'Early bird' free entry to sports centers

SHANGHAI residents can get fitter for free at city sports facilities, under a new initiative launched next month.

Sports venues will open to the public for at least 56 hours a week from June 10, including some free hours every day, the city's top sports official said yesterday.

Venues will not charge before 8am and offer discounts between 8am and 11am, Li Yuyi, Shanghai Sports Bureau director, said in a radio interview.

And they must open for at least 18 hours over weekends, targeting office workers who take little exercise during the week, he added.

"The physical fitness of Shanghai residents will be improved significantly by exercising for at least 20 minutes a day, four days a week," Li said.

A nationwide survey ranked Shanghai children lower than average in terms of physical fitness. After children, office workers are believed to be least physically active in the city.

The city will build 30 more gyms and 10 swimming pools in downtown areas this year, while also creating more sports facilities in the city's public green areas in the outskirts, Li said.

About 85 percent of sports facilities in middle and primary schools have already opened to the public, and this figure will keep rising, he added.


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