Qingdao, which hosted sailing during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has pioneered a city-wide system of home-based fitness instruction during the coronavirus lockdown, the seventh Smart Cities & Sport Summit heard today.
On the second and closing day of the Lausanne-based organisation’s virtual gathering, the details of this groundbreaking initiative were explained by Fiona Lin, a member of the city’s Municipal Sports Bureau who is in charge of the Sailing Centre.
In a video recorded at the harbour, Lin said that local television screenings of home-based fitness activities had attracted "more than five million hits", and that a selection of programmes promoted nationwide on the web had gained more than seven million visits.
"Our city’s sports practice in the pandemic was to promote new modes of home-based fitness and to create a new lifestyle of fitness for all," Lin said.
"The rationale behind our sports practice is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting and changing people’s lifestyles, with home-based fitness becoming a new demand.
"To overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic and to help people stay active and healthy the Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau has made active efforts to explore creative ideas and measures to promote the new lifestyle of home-based fitness, combining pandemic prevention control with promotion of fitness-for-all activities.
"The media have been used greatly to raise awareness with the public."
Thirty different media outlets, including municipal radio and TV stations, have been partnered with to promote home exercise.
"Instructional videos of 52 kinds of sports were broadcast on TV and gained a total of more than five million hits," Lin continued.
"Each episode was edited into a three-minute short video and put online.
"Home-based fitness kits are published online, and on fixed media such as radio, TV and newspapers.
"One family indoor fitness programme was recommended to the public every day, and 13 hotlines were opened to provide online guidance.
"Seventeen fitness enterprises provided fitness guidance for free, and Olympic champions and sports celebrities were invited to participate.
"In collaboration with TikTok a master home-based fitness programme was launched.
"The topic of Qingdao people doing sports on the Cloud was initiated, and 24 home-based fitness programmes were selected for outside teaching and promotion nationwide, with the number of total visits exceeding seven million.
"Special videos of fighting against COVID-19 through home-based fitness were played in all subway lines and in large stores.
"The daily home fitness campaign consists of 10 programmes for people of all ages, with packages of 52 different sports divided into different groups and ages.
"Manufacturers of fitness equipment were mobilised to offer equipment suitable for home fitness use at affordable and low prices.
"We have been looking at three aspects.
"First, to establish a long-term mechanism to promote ongoing home-based fitness by exploring new modes, in reaching fitness channels, strengthening guidance and popularising home-based fitness programmes for all ages.
"Second, to organise fitness-for-all activities regularly to boost the passion of people in sports and to help them stay active and healthy.
"Third, to develop an intelligent sports platform, to build an internet sports service mode to promote the integrated development of sport and the internet."
Fernando Parente, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) director for Healthy Campus and university relations, briefed participants on the rapid progress of the FISU Healthy Campus programme launched in May.
The initiative was piloted in seven universities with the aim of encouraging physical activity and the availability of healthy choices in a variety of fields.
Pilot participants were the University of Turin in Italy, the University of Western Australia, China's Peking University, the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Matanza and Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia.
Universities from all over the world have since been brought onto one platform to share ideas and best practices and have the opportunity to earn a "Healthy Campus Label" acknowledging they are a healthy place to study.
Parente revealed that the number of universities involved had now risen to 42, with another eight registrations pending.
"The initiative has been really successful," he said, adding that the pandemic had quickened the launch of the programme on which work had been underway for two years.
As well as addressing physical activity and sport, the programme focuses on numerous other areas of operation including nutrition, sleep, mental and social health, environment, sustainability, social responsibility and management.
"When the pandemic started we had a lot of restrictions over using sports facilities on campuses and almost all regular sporting events were cancelled," Parente said.
"There was a good reaction from the universities to try and maintain and keep up with regular users, and from the beginning of the confinement we have had good practices as we have tried to maintain programmes using the new technologies for services online.
"Universities have started to give online classes, with instructors working from home, and there were really different programmes with creativity when it was possible to undertake classes outdoors."
Established in 2014, Smart Cities & Sport is an initiative which originates from a group of former and future Olympic host cities.
It has since expanded to any cities interested in using sport as a platform for growth and development.
The event has been a virtual one this year because of the global health crisis.