A primary school in China has started teaching children kung fu - as a form of self-defence against air pollution.
Heavily contaminated smog is a huge problem in China, with children regularly kept indoors to protect them.
Many children grow up with asthma and other respiratory illnesses and the pollution was recently blamed for a child being diagnosed with lung cancer. State media said the eight-year-old girl had contracted the disease after being exposed to harmful particles in the air throughout her life.
In a bid to protect children from the air pollution, the Guangming Road Primary School in China's northern Hebei province has designed kung fu aerobics to mitigate the effects of the smog on the body, Xinhua reports.
The school has developed 23 moves, two of which involve pressing an acupoint and breathing deeply into the belly.
Acupoints boost immune system
Wei Huangiang, the deputy dean of the school who designed the kung fu aerobics, said the moves are effective against air pollution: "Pressing the Hegu acupoint, located between the thumb and index finger at the back of the hand, helps promote lungs' detoxification. Breathing into the belly dispels more residue gas left in human organs, reducing the harm caused by smog."
The kung fu moves can be performed in the classroom and the exercises take about two minutes to complete. All the 470 students at the school are required to do the exercises four times per day on smoggy days.
He Linxuan, a fourth-grade student, said: "The smog particles inhaled in our lungs are harmful, and we have to wear mouth cover on our way to school or home. We were taught that the aerobics help us to get rid of the dirty particles."
However, not all are convinced about the health benefits of kung fu aerobics. Some online users said it is unrealistic to think a few simple moves can prevent the health effects of air pollution.
Liu Erjun, a doctor with the traditional Chinese medicine department of the First Affiliated Hospital, said that while pressing certain acupoints during exercise can help to enhance people's immune systems, it is not clear how much help it would be in preventing diseases caused by the smog.