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In Vietnam, centenarian does daily push-ups for good health

In Vietnam, centenarian does daily push-ups for good health

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 10:02 GMT+7
In Vietnam, centenarian does daily push-ups for good health
Nguyen Thi Ket, 101, does push-ups every morning to stay healthy in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

Living in a house nestled in a rubber forest in Long Ha Commune of Phu Rieng District under Binh Phuoc Province, located in southern Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Ket, 101, wakes up early every morning and does push-ups, her favorite exercise.

“My mother loves doing physical exercise. She does it twice a day to improve her health,” Nguyen Thi Hien, who is the elderly woman’s daughter-in-law, said happily.

After spending 30 minutes warming up, she does 30 press-ups every morning, but she shows no shortness of breath or exhaustion.

She is seldom sick. 

After doing exercise, she washes her face and has breakfast, and then goes to her garden to take care of a chicken flock and a grapefruit tree.

“My mother frequently tells us that she remains healthy and strong, so she needs no help to hold her while she is walking,” Hien, 68, said.

“Last year, she often wore a helmet and stood in front of the house to ask someone for a lift to visit relatives and acquaintances.

“They asked her how she came back, she just smiled and replied that she would return home by herself."

Ket said, “I live with my oldest son and his wife. They go to work in cashew farms every day, while I stay at home to cook, feed chickens, and do housework."

Once Ket scared her family.

“In 2019, my mother slept in a hammock for two days and two nights, frightening us a lot, and we took her to hospital. After medical check-ups, doctors concluded she was suffering no illnesses,” Hien recounted.

After such a long sleep, Hien and other family members looked after her more carefully.

On a weekend, her children and grandchildren gathered in the home. Thuy, Ket’s granddaughter, happily massaged her grandmother’s hands and back, while Ket was caressing her grandchild’s cheeks.

Their laughs warmed the whole house.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Bang, Ket’s 56-year-old daughter, and her son returned home to visit their mother on the weekend.

Bang boasted that she had bought a fish to cook tasty dishes for her mother.

Bang said that though her mother is old, she always follows the etiquette of polite behavior.

She often tells the adult children moral stories, Bang recounted.

The 101-year-old visits her garden and takes care of a flock of chickens every day. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The 101-year-old visits her garden and takes care of a flock of chickens every day in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

A role model for family members

One of many things Ket’s family members admire about her is her excellent memory.

Telling stories about her life, Ket said that she moved to Binh Phuoc Province for work in 1978 from a northern locality.

On deserted land, she and her husband built a house, grew rice, and landed several jobs to nurture eight children.

The elderly woman, named Ket, (R) poses for a photo with her family members. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The elderly woman (L), named Nguyen Thi Ket, poses for a photo with her family members in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

“A few years later, my husband was ill and passed away, so I had to bear the burden and became the breadwinner,” she recalled.

She still remembers all stories clearly, while her adult children admitted that they could no longer recollect the details.

“My mother can remember all the wedding presents in our wedding parties, and put a name to any of her grandchildren and relatives,” Bang said.

The 101-year-old remains healthy. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The 101-year-old remains healthy. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

Her children and grandchildren see Ket as their role model, and they are following her behavior, lifestyle, and moderate exercise.

“My mother is warm-hearted. She often gives money to her neighbor, who is a victim of Agent Orange, when he visits her home though she has little money,” her daughter said.

Regardless of her age, she takes a bath by herself every day without any help from her family members. 

Furthermore, she made banh tet, a glutinous rice cake, to celebrate the 2022 Lunar New Year holiday.

Her family members are often delighted with her recitations.

“Last year marked her 100th birthday, so she was presented with a strip of red brocade fabric by the state president. She was highly excited,” Bang said.

“My mother got the strip of fabric made into two ao dai [a Vietnamese traditional costume] and one ao ba ba [a traditional garment of people in the southern region],” she added.

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Tieu Bac - Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre News

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