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15.10.2020 - Ausgabe: 5/2020

Open-air gym – with a view of the lake

©Barzflex GmbH

Who has not seen the pictures of fitness enthusiasts in the U.S. strengthening their muscles on Venice Beach in bright sunshine and then cooling off in the ocean? In the Southern Carinthian tourist hub of St. Kanzian, a sports facility for young and old has been opened directly on Lake Klopeiner See.

In summer temperatures, sports-loving people like to change their sportswear for swimwear and the conventional gym for an outdoor location as close to the water as possible. However, while outdoor training is really booming, there are only a few training areas or fitness trails near the cool water. 


Fitness Beach at Klopeiner See    

Lake Klopeiner See is 1.8 kilometres long and 800 metres wide and is located in the south of Carinthia (Austria’s southernmost province). In summer, the water temperature reaches up to 29 degrees Celsius, making it one of the warmest swimming spots in Austria. A continuous promenade of more than 5 kilometres goes around the lake. The entire promenade is a hotspot for tourists, but also for the inhabitants of the surrounding municipalities. While the south shore is mainly for sports lovers, offering space for cycling, running or even volleyball, the north shore is rather known as a food mile. The entire route is also fully pushchair-friendly and wheelchair-accessible. 

Three years ago, the Southern Carinthian Tourism Association first considered planning a facility on the edge of Lake Klopeiner See, which – similar to the Venice Beach model – would offer a large target group the opportunity to work out free of charge. René Novak, project and event manager, but above all himself a passionate athlete, quickly expressed his enthusiasm for this idea and convinced Daniel Orasche, the managing director of the tourism association, with his concrete plans. He was appointed project manager and put a sophisticated concept down on paper, which was then elaborated by three Carinthian high school graduates. 

Some suggestions were made regarding the location, but for Novak it soon became clear that the outdoor fitness park was best located at Strandbad Süd. “When it came to choosing my implementing project partner, I opted for Barzflex GmbH because they themselves are athletes and therefore were able to support me in the best possible way both in planning and implementation. Together we have created a paradise for every athlete,” explains Novak. The Austrian company plans and designs workout parks, aiming to achieve an optimum for the user through a sophisticated selection of materials and dimensioning of the uprights and element connection. From the very beginning, they have been working according to the credo: from athletes – for athletes. This is achieved primarily through close cooperation with organisations, clubs and personal trainers in the field of bodyweight workout. The exclusive partnership with the German playground equipment manufacturer Emsland-Kinderland also makes the construction of large leisure facilities – including play and motor activity areas – interesting.


Fitness paradise for young and old   

In spring 2018, a sports facility for young and old was built on an area of 550 square metres, comprising a versatile workout park for bodyweight training, a sprint track, a yoga footbridge and three spin bikes. In addition, the fitness park is located on an extremely picturesque site next to the forest, which is separated from the lakeside resort by extensive dry stone walling – a uniquely beautiful location that has already become an extremely popular subject for sports photographs and videos.   

The new fitness area was well received right from the start – people of all ages and fitness levels come together and learn from each other in a spirit of mutual respect. A regular group programme is now also offered by some local trainers. Especially young people are enthusiastic about the workshops around the trend sport «calisthenics», for which the workout park is ideally suited. However, the weekly schedule also includes classic group training for everyone to strengthen and stabilize their muscles in general. Among others, Zumba training sessions are held on the Tartan track, which stays cool even in hot weather thanks to red synthetic surfacing. Open-air yoga is also one of the activities that young and old alike enjoy. 


Pandemic spurs increase in outdoor sporting activities 

“Several more open-air fitness centres are to be built on Lake Klopeiner See,” said Daniel Orasche, Managing Director of Tourismusregion Klopeiner See-Südkärnten. “The sports beach can be used by our guests and by all locals free of charge. It will be open all year round. There will always be courses with our guides, who will provide assistance during the training if required,” explained Orasche. 

This contributes to the economic stability of the region, but also motivates tourists and citizens of the municipality to engage in health-promoting sports, as the fitness programme is included in the range of activities offered by «Aktiv Card Südkärnten». For this reason, the costs of around 90,000 euros were also borne by the tourism association and the municipality of St. Kanzian. 

“We are happy to support anything that promotes the health of our citizens,” says Mayor Thomas Krainz.  

The Covid-19 lockdown has only made this project even more popular. Many people avoid group sports indoors/ indoor group sporting activities and want their training to take place outdoors. The fitness beach offers an inspiring sports environment for everyone, which is why also parents and their children enjoy working out together here.

“In these times of a global pandemic, more people in general are turning to outdoor sports. This has also been apparent in the increased demand experienced by other tourist regions. The Fitness Beach Klopeiner See project will certainly be implemented at many more similar locations," says Florian Schachner, Managing Director of Barzflex GmbH. It is to be expected that many more municipalities will follow this trend in the course of the next few years, thus improving the population’s health.



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