Having been a regular jogger for five years back home, when I was relocating from the spacious suburbs of Toronto to the densely populated city of Shanghai in 2009, one of my biggest worries was that my exercise routine would be interrupted.
Yes, there are always the options of joining a gym or buying a treadmill. But jogging outdoors allows you to feel the pulse of the city along with your own racing heartbeat. You can also listen to its soundscape as the background accompaniment of your power jams, and watch its micro- movements in contrast to your own rapid pace. It is an experience that cannot be replaced by exercising indoors.
It turns out my worries were unnecessary. Jogging in Shanghai is actually just as enjoyable and there are many quiet, beautiful spots around the city that allow you enjoy a nice workout outdoors. While you’re running, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the city that is rarely seen from an expat’s perspective.
1) Jianhe Lu – Qingxi Lu – Longxi Lu (Hongqiao area)
This is an area with many upscale residential compounds occupied mainly by expats living in Shanghai. The wide sidewalks here are generally very clean and are lined with lush trees. The houses that you pass bear striking resemblance to those in the suburban neighbourhoods in the West and it almost feels like jogging back at home.
The best part about this route is that many of the side streets adjacent to Qingxi Lu (i.e. Linquan Lu or Honggu Lu) are very quiet for most hours of the day so you won’t have to worry about having to dodge pedestrians or hawkers. There are also long stretches of curved or straight roads on Longxi Lu and Jianhe Lu that are uninterrupted by traffic lights, and are therefore perfect for sprints.
Avoid morning and evening rush hours when using this route because the air quality significantly decreases as a result of the inflow of road traffic.
2) South Huang Pi Lu – Shunchang Lu – Hubin Lu – Middle Fuxing Lu (Xintiandi area)
Just one block southeast of Xintiandi, this is one of the most enjoyable routes to use for an early morning run. This route goes around the quiet and beautiful streets of Casa Lakeville apartment compound and across the street to the Taipingqiao Park which sits right across the street from Xintiandi.
Before the shops are opened and the tourists start flowing in, this area is the perfect spot for jogging. The nicely paved sidewalks with a view of modern buildings and shops in the surroundings allow you to catch a glimpse of the heart of Shanghai just as the city is waking up. For this route, avoid weekends and holidays as the streets (especially near Taipingqiao Park, Middle Fuxing Lu and South Huangpi Lu) are almost always crowded with people and the road traffic would cause many unwanted interruptions (i.e. dodging pedestrians, tourists asking for directions, longer and more frequent waits at the traffic lights) during your workout.
3) Fuxing Park 复兴公园 View In Map
For many jogging enthusiasts, Fuxing Park is not only known as one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Shanghai; it is also one of the best places for exercising in the city. It’s not hard to find joggers of different ages and backgrounds here at all times of the day when the weather is nice.
Every inch of the 88,000 square meters of space at Fuxing Park breathes culture and history. Many senior residents practice tai-chi and play traditional card games or chess games throughout the park. At times, there are also local artists and dancers of all ages gathering here to show off their talents, often drawing in large crowds of spectators.
Being able to jog around and enjoy the European-influenced features of the park and to watch locals mix and mingle over their favoyrite hobbies or observe impromptu performances is one of the best ways to see another side of Shanghai that you would rarely find at The Bund or other famous tourist attractions. If you are looking for a quiet run, it is best not to be here on the weekends (especially during the afternoon) as it is the peak time for visitors.
Add: 516 Middle Fuxing Lu, Luwan District, Near Sinan Lu (south entrance), Shanghai
地址: 上海市卢湾区复兴中路516号, 近思南路 (南门)
Opening hours: April 1st to October 31st: 05:00 – 20:00; November 1st to March 31st: 06:00-19:00
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Keywords: Jogging in Shanghai free workout Shanghai best jogging spots Shanghai
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