【Learn Chinese】5 Words for Light Exercising

When you think about staying fit, what comes to mind? Maybe hitting the gym hard every day or taking long runs after work? But is heavy exercise the only way to stay healthy?
Not really! Lighter activities like yoga and tai chi can be just as good for you. Plus, they often help us feel peaceful and calm.
In this article, you’re going to learn 5 simple Chinese words related to those lighter exercises.
Yoga 瑜伽
Yoga in Chinese is 瑜伽 (yú jiā), phonetically mirrors the sound “yoga.” Using the key term 瑜伽 (yú jiā) can expand to the following related words:
yoga class: 瑜伽课 (yújiā kè) literally: yoga + class
yoga mat: 瑜伽垫 (yújiā diàn) literally: yoga + mat
practice yoga: 练瑜伽 (liàn yújiā) literally: to practice + yoga
Originating from ancient India over 5,000 years ago, yoga is a holistic practice that intertwines the mind, body, and spirit to enhance overall well-being. Engaging in yoga regularly unveils numerous benefits. It improves physical flexibility, strength, and posture. Moreover, yoga is a stress alleviator, reducing anxiety and nurturing a tranquil state of mind.
Qigong 气功
In Chinese, qigong is written as 气功 (qìgōng). 气 means “energy of life,” and 功 is “work with,” So, 气功 means doing exercises that help you work with your body’s energy.
Bringing back the word for “to practice,” 练 (liàn), from our talk about yoga, 练气功 (liàn qìgōng) means “to practice qigong.”
Qigong is an ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique that’s been around for five thousand years. It involves movements, meditation, and controlled breathing. Qigong can bring many good changes. It can make your body stronger and more flexible. It can also help your mind feel calmer and more peaceful. It’s a gentle way to take care of both your body and your mind.
Tai Chi 太极
“Tai chi” is written as 太极 (tài jí). This phrase literally translates to “supreme ultimate.”
In the realm of martial arts, tai chi is more accurately referred to as “tai chi chuan” (太极拳), with 拳 (quán) meaning “fist” or representing “the art of boxing.” This designation emphasizes tai chi’s roots in combat techniques, although it’s predominantly practiced today for its health benefits.
Tai chi involves a sequence of slow, graceful movements that serve as both meditation and physical exercise. These movements promote a serene mind and a nimble body, blending mental calmness with physical endurance.
Viewed as a descendant of qigong (气功), tai chi (太极) indeed inherits much from its “mother,” reflecting shared principles of energy flow and balance.
Jogging 慢跑
Moving beyond ancient practices, we find jogging — a cherished exercise that offers runners a sense of freedom and ease. In Chinese, “jogging” is called 慢跑 (màn pǎo), where 慢 means “slow” and 跑 signifies “to run.” This simple combination perfectly captures the essence of jogging: a slower, more relaxed form of running.
Jogging has become a popular way for people of all ages to stay active, offering a straightforward, accessible form of cardio exercise. It’s also a fantastic stress reliever, with many joggers experiencing what’s known as the “runner’s high,” thanks to the release of endorphins during the activity.
Skipping 跳绳
Finally, we look at skipping, known as 跳绳 (tiào shéng) in Chinese. 跳 means “to jump,” and 绳 is “rope.” So, Together, 跳绳 perfectly describe the action of skipping rope — a dynamic, rhythmic exercise that involves jumping over a swinging rope.
Skipping is another form of cardio exercise that can be modified to fit any fitness level. Unlike jogging, which is better suited to outdoor spaces, skipping can be practiced both indoors and outdoors. This flexibility makes it an ideal exercise option, especially when the weather is less inviting.
Moreover, skipping stands out for its efficiency; just a few minutes can burn many calories, making it a perfect fit for busy schedules. It’s a straightforward exercise that needs only a rope and a little space, offering a fun way to keep active.