The provision of good and attractive sport and exercise facilities should be an important aspect of all infrastructure planning by towns and local authorities. But there is a widely diverse range of...
Fit in the holidays – exercise areas for active holidaymakers
Sport on holiday? While for some this amounts at most to a game of beach tennis or a couple of lengths of the hotel pool, for a growing number of people sport is the focal point of their annual holidays. From skiing to hiking, cycle touring to canoe trips – there are many forms of active holiday and for exercise enthusiasts of all ages. And nowadays the tourism industry offers an extensive range of activities – sport combined with action, experience and a stay in a holiday region. But as large as the choice is, most people are mainly seeking tranquillity and relaxation on their break. Although it is naturally difficult to find sufficient time to relax on a pure activity holiday, many travellers are nevertheless quite willing to take part in sports activity while on a break occasionally. It should be possible to integrate exercise and activity into everyday holiday life without having to invest too much effort, preparation and time. No pre-booking, no fixed times and no obligations – all this would prevent holidaymakers from relaxing in the way that they wish to. It should be possible to engage in physical activity spontaneously and casually, and it should not harm other holiday pursuits and take place in the holiday resort.
Sport on holiday – a popular option for many holiday guests
Many holiday resorts and regions have therefore made an effort to establish exercise areas for their visitors in recent years which they can use at their own discretion during their stay. For example, there are small sports fields on which families and groups can play volleyball, football or basketball and fitness and motor activity areas where each individual can take part in sports activity. It is now common knowledge that as well as improving health, sport and exercise also have a positive effect on mind, mood and wellbeing. Appropriate exercise areas offer holidaymakers the opportunity to take part in sports activity informally and without any pressure. While in everyday life there is often a lack of motivation and opportunity to be active for a short while and besides try out something new, people are generally more open-minded about trying unfamiliar activities while on holiday. It is considerably easier to pay the occasional visit to an exercise area than at home. But naturally, such facilities are not just designed to encourage holidaymakers to get active - visiting sports enthusiasts are especially keen on appealingly designed and well-equipped areas. And finally, many local residents are delighted to have sports facilities on the doorstep and also take advantage of them outside the holiday season.
Fitness areas in holiday regions – a well-established trend in other countries
Fitness and exercise spaces have long been established in holiday regions by the sea. In southern countries such as Spain, Portugal and Brazil such spaces have long been part of established and extensive facilities on or in the vicinity of beaches. Here they are often well used by locals and holidaymakers alike and integrated into the infrastructure. For some personal fitness is the main motivation for using such facilities, while many experienced and fit recreational sports enthusiasts also enjoy being watched while practising their sport. Facilities, where callisthenics can be performed, are frequently used by athletic younger people in particular. Exercising in fine weather by the beach and perhaps beneath palm trees to boot – in many places, it is the ambience that attracts enthusiasts to exercise areas.
German holiday regions have also long since latched onto this trend and now offer their holidaymakers a plethora of opportunities to pursue sports and exercise. Fitness and exercise areas have therefore now been part of the offering for many years along with cycle hire, boat tours and hiking routes. Here two prime examples of such facilities are presented.
Dreikaiserbäder sports beach and activity promenade
On the popular holiday island of Usedom is Europe's longest beach promenade, the Europa-Promenade, which stretches 12 kilometres from the Polish part of the island to the town of Bansin through the three "imperial spas" (the towns of Bansin, Heringsdorf and Ahlbeck). A few years ago the decision was taken to provided sports and exercise facilities along the route. As well as significantly extending the offering for active holidaymakers, a local infrastructure was also installed to encourage exercise. In Ahlbeck, for example, is the "sports beach" – a section which provides a wide range of options for pursuing sport. In the summer season, experienced coaches are on hand who offer visitors short courses in individual sports, including the kind of courses familiar from fitness studios. And since 2016, directly alongside the sports beach, where the resorts of Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf meet, there has been a mecca for sports and fitness enthusiasts and anyone who likes to exercise in the open air: the Active Promenade. Here muscles can be worked out and coordination exercises performed on 22 different items of equipment and obstacles in four areas. There is a running area, a coordination area, a fitness area and even a play area. Advice and suggestions for exercises are attached to the individual items of equipment. Here it is possible to do as much or as little exercise as you please. However, the Activity Promenade has been designed to cater not just for experienced sports enthusiasts but for anyone wishing to put their motor skills, their balance or their reasoning to the test. Holidaymakers are keen to take advantage of these exercise opportunities on Usedom.
Thalasso exercise course on Borkum
It is not just by the Baltic Sea but also on the North Sea coast that holidaymakers are keen to take advantage of opportunities for fitness and exercise. This is why an exercise course for holidaymakers was also set up here several years ago. This course is located between the beach, the Gezeitenland water and wellness centre and the Tennis-Insel tennis centre on Borkum. The open design of this course with several items of equipment makes it especially appealing, and holidaymakers can use this equipment around the clock regardless of age, body size and fitness level. It is intended to be a meeting place for people of all ages. The equipment, use of which is even recommended by the German Olympic Sports Confederation, was developed in accordance with the latest sports science research. The exertion levels of the individual stations are marked in three different colours: yellow means easy, green indicates an intermediate level and blue signifies "difficult". The area can be used for both a balanced fitness session and a short workout and is intended to supplement the local exercise offering. Here again, the proximity to beach and sea is intended to encourage holidaymakers to engage in physical exercise.
The importance of sport and exercise is set to increase further in the coming years. Today many people are prepared to integrate more physical activity into their everyday lives and to exercise even whilst on holiday. And holiday resorts and regions are catering for this desire with appropriate fitness and exercise areas. In doing so, they are not only increasing their appeal to tourists but also encouraging exercise, contributing to preventative healthcare and enhancing the life quality of local people.