The Crazy Auntie's taxi cab workout plan
Published: Jul 21, 2011 08:55 AM Updated: Jul 21, 2011 08:55 AM

The taxi stretch. Photo: Courtesy of Touchmedia

Is it possible to get exercise and release stress in the back seat of a taxi? Touchmedia, the company that owns those touchscreens in the back of the taxis, sure thinks it is. In an effort to de-stress frantic white-collars, they've filled the screens in cabs around Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen with a manic exercise coach in day-glo fitness gear, whom the Internet has dubbed, "Crazy Auntie."

In real life, the Crazy Auntie is Chinese-Canadian Nancy Pon, the general manager of Touchevents, a subsidiary of Touchmedia, which is producing the Mr and Miss Wow campaign to get white-collar workers into shape.

"At first, our creative team searched for healthy and fit people to demonstrate the professionally designed exercises targeting white-collar tensions areas, namely neck, shoulders and wrists," she said. "It was definitely not my idea to be in the video. And they said I was very fit and might help to inspire many others to pay attention to their health."

She agreed on the condition that they would make her look as different as possible from her real self, so the Crazy Auntie was born.

"They set about creating an eye-catching, fun and intimidation free 'coach.'And then, the character based on the 80s fitness craze as you saw, came out," she added.

She mainly teaches a neck exercise in a one-minute video designed by a coach from Fitstop, a Shanghai-based fitness club and partner in the campaign, and it's easy to do. Crazy Auntie just takes a deep breath and stretches her head to one side while breathing slowly. Her crazy demeanor and bright clothes caught passengers' attention, and the Internet video has received over one million views, while commenters note: "To be honest, it is quite useful and helpful. But can she behave normally?" and "I can't help laughing every time I see her teaching in the video."

"Now the topic of white-collar health is the hottest one in the town. It was our intent to get everyone excited about exercise and health via Mr and Miss WOW, and it seems that health is a very fun topic now," cheered Pon. 

"We asked Fitstop for a series of exercises that could be taught and followed by passengers within the taxi environment," she explained. "There are three series of exercises targeting white-collar tension areas, neck (June), shoulders (July) and wrists (August)."

But Pon doesn't get her physique just by stretching her neck. She exercises every morning and runs or swims several times a week.

Pon says getting in shape isn't that difficult. "Start with just a minute here and there. Put your health first and take responsibility for it moving forward."

Useful advice from Nancy Pon

"My advice is for everyone to set out at least 5 minutes to do some exercise each day.  Start small.  Do exercises and activities that you like.  If that means shopping for 8 hours, then it is still good for you!' 

"Walk up the stairs instead of taking an elevator.  Try to sleep at least 6-8 hours a night.  Control or reduce your stress by laughing, playing, getting massages, turning off your phone or whatever it takes to get some time to relax.'

"Pay attention to your diet and try to eat more vegetables, cut down on fried foods and red meats. "