March 18, 2020 / 4:22 AM / 19 days ago

YouTube video keeps Japan's seniors in shape in coronavirus confinement

SAITAMA, Japan (Reuters) - The coronavirus epidemic may be keeping people at home to avoid exposure to the disease but Japan’s senior citizens are still able to do their workouts thanks to a YouTube video that they can exercise along to.

The video, “Human Taiso” (Human Exercise), was made available to the public via a YouTube link by elderly care-home operator Human Life Care this month:

youtu.be/b9oPbi9wnP4

Human Life Care had already been conducting exercise classes with the video at its care centers and wanted to do its part for others amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“I know there are people that take walks, but at a time like this, people tend to avoid going out,” said Satoshi Matsuzaka, strategy department manager at Human Life Care.

“I hope people can exercise at home with this exercise.”

Japan has canceled public events, closed schools and urged people to work from home to help stop further transmission of the coronavirus. The elderly in particular are vulnerable to the serious effects of the virus.

Japan has the world’s oldest population, with more than 28% aged 65 or over.

The video is about five minutes long, featuring exercises and stretches designed to boost blood flow and strengthen the feet and back muscles.

“I can have fun by watching while exercising. So I think it’s good,” said Rieko Kojima, 79, who got in her exercise at Human Life Care’s center in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

Japan has had 868 confirmed cases of domestic coronavirus infection and 29 deaths.

Reporting by Akira Tomoshige; Writing by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Robert Birsel

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