As China has a vast territory and a huge population, with unbalanced economic and cultural development in different localities and among different ethnic groups and with the level of sports development varying widely from place to place, the National Fitness Programme can only be carried out step by step.
The entire process consists of three stages. The first stage lasted from 1994 to 2000. The first two years, 1994 and 1995, were devoted to publicity work and experiments in selected places. In the following two years, 1996 and 1997, efforts were made to carry out the Programme first in key areas and then on a broader scale. Things moved full steam ahead across the country during the period from 1998 to 2000.
The second stage will last from 2000 to 2021 and the third, from 2021 to 2049. Specific goals to be attained in these two stages and methods for their realization will be worked out on the basis of the experience gained in the first stage.
As the initial step taken in the 1994-1995 period, people throughout the country were called upon to get on the move and do the following three things:
1. Exercise for at least 20 minutes every day;
2. Try to learn two different types of training that helps enable one to exercise either indoors or outdoors according to weather conditions; and
3. Take a fitness test once every year. The test covers such items as body height, body weight, heart rate and blood pressure. Those who pass the test according to standards set by the state are considered physically fit; those who are below norms have to make further efforts to bring themselves up to standard.
The National Fitness Programme is the most important measure adopted these years for reforming sports in China. Its implementation will be beset with difficulties as the importance of improving the level of national fitness has yet to be fully understood by the people, the urge to take part in sports activities still not strong enough among many of them, and there is a lack of funds for improving sporting facilities in the country. Nevertheless, the sports authorities are determined that, if a thing is beneficial to the people and to the country's modernization, it should be brought to completion in spite of any difficulties.