Hap­pi­ness se­cret to vil­lagers’ long lives

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By HU QING huqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

At the age of 81, Gao Feng­shui still con­sid­ers him­self young.

Ev­ery­day, he car­ries two buck­ets of wa­ter from the stream to his house in Wanggezhuang vil­lage in the Laoshan dis­trict of Qing­dao.

“It is not some­thing worth brag­ging about. Here, peo­ple in their 70s and 80s never think they are old,” said Gao with a smile.

Gao said his brother who is 84 can carry buck­ets of wa­ter all the way to the field over a small hill. “Even some cen­te­nar­i­ans in the vil­lage can do field work and are clear-minded and able to do cal­cu­la­tions,” he added.

The vil­lage is now home to five cen­te­nar­i­ans and many res­i­dents who are in their 70s or 80s.

Sur­rounded by five moun­tain peaks, Wanggezhuang vil­lage is lo­cated in a val­ley that lies in the foot of the Laoshan Moun­tain.

A re­treat from the ur­ban life, the vil­lage is sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful scenery that has in­spired many po­ets and pain­ters over the ages.

How­ever, the se­cret of longevity, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal res­i­dents, is not just the views and fresh air, it’s also be­cause they are happy.

“The air is clean and peo­ple get on well with each other. A good mood ev­ery­day re­ally can keep the doc­tor away,” said Gu Xi­uy­ing, a 100-year-old vil­lager, who can still see and hear clearly.

Gao’s fam­ily used to run a small restau­rant in the vil­lage. His mother, who died at the age of 103, could still work in the field at 100 and even re­cite their menu.

“I re­mem­ber she of­ten said that when peo­ple get old, they should never quit work­ing; they should keep us­ing the brain. Then you grow old slowly,” said Gao.

The small pic­turesque vil­lage in Laoshan has be­come a pop­u­lar tourist desti­na­tion in re­cent years with many peo­ple vis­it­ing the won­der­land from afar in search of the se­cret be­hind the vil­lagers’ longevity.

“With the in­flux of tourists, many vil­lagers have now opened restau­rants and small ho­tels. Their in­comes have in­creased greatly,” said Gao Yu­jie, a vil­lage of­fi­cial.

Laoshan dis­trict gov­ern­ment listed Wanggezhuang one of its Top 10 Tourism Vil­lages in 2012.

Sta­tis­tics from Laoshan Civil Af­fairs Bureau show that the dis­trict now has 781 cou­ples that are over 80 years old and 22 cen­te­nar­i­ans.

The dis­trict’s pro­por­tion of peo­ple en­joy­ing a long life ranks the first in the coun­try, which shows that Laoshan is a place suit­able to live and also to travel, said Su Peng, di­rec­tor of the bureau. Wang Tao con­trib­uted to this story.

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