At the age of 94, a man who resides in Ho Chi Minh City still goes swimming every day as a daily habit to keep him both physically and mentally healthy.
It is a rare daily routine among the elderly in Vietnam.
Vu Quy Hien, 65, and all his family members love sports.
Such a great affection for sports stems from his father, Vu Ngoc Lau, 94.
Swimmers at Rach Mieu Swimming Pool in Phu Nhuan District always see the man take a dip every day.
It was Lau who brought his family members inspiration to work out.
Lau happily said that he swims some 500-700 meters in a large pool each day.
Sporting spirit spreads among family members
“My father became my source of inspiration for swimming. His children and grandchildren see him as a good example of a healthy lifestyle,” Hien said.
“We often spend time swimming, cycling, and jogging with each other to strengthen health and make our life more meaningful."
Thanks to his swimming habit, the aged man is in good health, his son said.
“My father can himself do daily activities such as eating, going to sleep, and practicing personal hygiene,” Hien said proudly.
He recounted he ferried his father to the swimming pool for his workout, while he just sat on a chair and waited for his father in the initial stage.
He quickly decided to swim with his father on the following trips to the pool.
The joy of swimming also urged his two siblings to engage in the daily activity.
Hien and his younger brother, 61, cycle along Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Streets, and jog in Gia Dinh Park every day, he said.
Other family members join these workouts on weekends.
Over the past decade, Hien’s father has gone swimming daily.
|Vu Ngoc Lau’s children and grandchildren regularly do exercise. Photo: Supplied|
“My father’s enjoyment is swimming. Every time he gets into the water, he feels good and exhilarated,” Hien said.
In the past, Lau competed in swim races for the elderly, and bagged some prizes.
Lau, who lives with his daughter in Phu Nhuan District, goes for a dip from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm every day.
His two sons take turns transporting him to the swimming pool.
Trinh Thi Bach Diep, a swim coach at Rach Mieu Swimming Pool, said that Lau has gone swimming at the pool for many years.
Diep often sees numerous old swimmers at the pool, but Lau is the most tenacious, she recalled.
Veteran swimmer Nguyen Kieu Oanh was surprised by Lau and his passion.
“Though he is 94 years old, he stays healthy and maintains his habit of daily swimming," Oanh said.
Oanh added that once Lau joined the city’s swim race for the elderly, he secured the title ‘the most respected swimmer.’
Many young people make light of exercise, she said, adding that they could take him as their role model to have a longer and healthier life.
Daily workout boosts lifespan
Dr. Phan Vuong Huy Dong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Sports Medicine Association, said that the average life expectancy is some 73 years for men and 76 years for women in Vietnam.
“It is worthy of admiration that Lau is now 94 years old, but he is still healthy and goes swimming every day,” Dong said.
Swimming is a sporting activity in water, working swimmers’ whole body and improving their muscle strength.
Dr. Dong advised people who are suffering from ear, nose, throat diseases, and dermatitis not to swim.
Senior citizens should get into water with a water level below their chest to avoid drowning and be careful of slippery pool floors.