Expat fitness fanatics in Shanghai get roadside exercise capsules

Published:  14 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, China, Travel Abroad
Shanghai’s residential areas will soon provide locals and expats with small, ‘intelligent’ fitness capsules giving the opportunity to work out anywhere at anytime.

Fitness fanatics may well see the innovative idea as a dream come true, as they won’t have to set aside time to travel to a gym, pay a monthly subscription or even change their working gear. The new ParkBox shipping container-sized mini-gyms are equipped with treadmills, dumb-bells and other fitness aids, can accommodate up to five at one time and are open 24.7.

Exactly one thousand ParkBoxes are to be installed in and around Shanghai, with the focus on residential enclaves containing a large number of younger people. For dedicated fitness fans, the mini-gyms have a computer system named ‘smart coach’, which performs data analysis of workouts and also offers personalised fitness programmes.

Commercial gyms in Shanghai are not best pleased, as a session on a ParkBox costs just 10 yuan and there are no expensive annual membership fees. Currently, just a few have been installed, with most in the city’s outer suburbs, but co-founder of ParkBox Huang Xiaolei told reporters the rest will be up very soon, fulfilling his dream of a new fitness style embracing flexibility, economy and convenience.

Another new innovation aimed at consumers is proving popular with husbands who hate accompanying their wives on the regular weekly shopping trip. Shanghai’s Global Mall is now home to ‘husband rest pods’ in the form of entertainment booths. At present there are four scattered around the mall, each with a relaxing chair, gaming system and TV screen, perfect for men who simply can’t stand the weekly shopping ritual. The pods are receiving mixed reviews from the public, with some wives claiming their partners spend too long in them and need dragging out when it’s time to leave.

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