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In Corona times, many have let themselves become couch potatoes. But now it’s time to treat body, mind and soul to something good again and do some sports. Despite all the excuses, you don’t even need a gym. Parks and forests offer so many opportunities.

If you look at the sporty young men and women with their six-packs in the open-air swimming pool and then look down at yourself, you might think that one less six-pack of beer would have done the trick, and a little sport wouldn’t be a bad idea either. But if you only start in the summer for the sake of your own ego, it’s almost too late for you at the time of year when everyone is more or less taking off their clothes.

But casual recreational sports, which is what we are primarily talking about here, ultimately not only flatters one’s own appearance, but also, and above all, one’s health, mind and soul. However, doctors warn against literally going overboard and starting to jog or ride a bike like some people do out of nowhere. But you have to start somewhere.


Some “older people” might have done well to have a health check beforehand. Even young people can get circulation problems or even worse if they pedal their souls out without prior training, especially in the midday heat and without drinking enough.

It is very important to drink. It shouldn’t be liquor, wine or beer, although a sour beer (beer with mineral water instead of lemonade) can be very relaxing after a climb and is always better than no drink at all. If you can afford it or have the time, you should approach sports with a fitness coach.

In the forest, you can actually sometimes see whole bunches of people mountain biking or Nordic walking under instruction.


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Lucija Rovtar (@lucijarovtar_)


Nordic walking is somewhat reminiscent of cross-country skiing and cross-trainers because, if you don’t just drag the poles behind you, you also strengthen your arms and back. And hand on heart: it is always better to be active at all, whether young or old, than to loaf around on the couch. That’s why you shouldn’t talk trash about older e-bikers. Because electric doesn’t mean you don’t have to pedal. And even those who carry around a few too many “floaties” in the open-air pool or on the beach deserve respect, because at some point you have to start getting rid of them.

Walking is also a leisure sport that is really healthy if you don’t overdo it at the beginning. Even younger people can get knee problems, especially when descending from a mountain. And therefore it can be advisable to carry hiking or trekking poles with you. These are now available for little money and can be dismantled into small pieces to fit in any backpack, along with the water bottle that you should always have with you on a hike.


On hiking trails or forest on vacation or at home, one also encounters trim-dich trails again and again, as they became fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. Such paths, the first German one in Münster christened “Schweißtropfenbahn” in 1962, offer so many possibilities. For example, there are always a few lower bars on which you can do push-ups upright, sparing your back and shoulders, as well as high bars for pull-ups or for the perhaps hated rock upward swing from school days, for those who can still do it.

By the way, pull-ups, like other exercises, do not necessarily have to do with strength, but also with dexterity and the right posture. If you fidget wildly on the bar, you use up far too much energy and may only manage one pull at the most, and then only with your chin thrust out spasmodically. It is better to keep the body not rigid, but straight, so that the feet are practically always in an imaginary vertical line. Just try it out. You don’t have to do ten or twelve pull-ups in one go, as you did when you were a teenager. And you shouldn’t pull anything, so approach it like everything else, carefully.


The Trimm-Dich trail should also include signs with instructions for hip, trunk and arm swings, squats and similar exercises. But you don’t even need Vita Parcours, as they are called in the pioneering country of Switzerland. Because such exercises can be done anywhere, if necessary also under guidance. The same goes for upright push-ups or backward supports, also called tricep dips. For this it does also a park bench or a wood pile in the forest.

On a bench or a low wood pile you can also practice lunges, where you put your hands on your hips, put one leg on it and then jump up about 25 times, switching legs at the same time. Another option is to bend your leg with your back to the bench, rest the ball of your foot on it and do squats with the other leg while keeping your back straight. Or you can do push-ups called Mountain Climbers with your legs at the same height or slightly higher than your torso. This is an exercise that can be done well at the edge of the bathtub at home, if the bathroom is big enough.


To avoid getting nasty looks or words, protect the park bench from dirt on your shoes with a towel or newspaper if possible, or take your shoes off beforehand if weather and ground conditions permit. The same applies to stretching exercises on parallel bars and similar. Who wants to get their hands in mud during pull-ups, support jumps (also called straight bar dips), upright push-ups, or other exercises that require hand use?


Speaking of stretching exercises, they are just as important as warming up in the morning hours, when jogging is most pleasant in the summer, but temperatures can also be around 10 degrees Celsius. Because this not only prevents sore muscles, tension and joint pain. Quite a few people have contracted muscle spasms during excessive jogging, marathons or triathlons. And that can cause them to look like they’re ancient when they walk.

On the other hand, the appearance thing is something else. Studies and watch groups have shown that the creators of Instagram, TikTok and the like are in part consciously controlling the beauty craze in social media.


Men’s Health once reported on a young man who was unhappy with the results of his constant abdominal exercises and had silicone six-packs implanted. Unfortunately, the surgery went wrong, so in the end the lad couldn’t even show himself topless. The biggest body cult with artificial muscles on the buttocks and abdomen is observed in North and South America, where people are supposed to see that something has been “done”. But the trend is slowly spilling over the pond into Europe. Some of the operations are highly dangerous.

Artificial leg muscles of course no longer support and serve neither strength nor fitness training. In good gyms, however, you also learn another discipline, and that is the coordination training that is so important, especially for 40 or 50 plus. Over time, many people forget how to ride a bicycle hands-free, something that came naturally to them in their childhood or youth. You don’t have to learn it again when you’re more mature, but balancing on designated bars in a course or on tree trunks in the forest also trains your memory.

And that’s actually a nice conclusion, because recreational sports, even so loose as described here, is just good for body, soul and spirit. And if you then prefer yourself in the mirror, that’s also good for your own self-confidence.

Source cover image: Unsplash / Boxed Water Is Better 

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