Funded fitness training outdoors

"In 2060, every third person will be at least 65 years old – one in seven will even be 80 or older," explained Roderich Egeler, President of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), at a press conference on the 12th co-ordinated population projection.

Funded fitness training outdoors

The birth rate decline, ageing and shrinking population figures have been at the centre of public debate in recent years. This is why it shouldn't just be youngsters and competitive athletes that can use the equipment but in particular older citizens and those with limited mobility. This was the "sporty" objective that was defined when setting up the course and considering equipment choices.

The declining working-age population and the simultaneous rise in the number of people in the older age groups is shifting the demographic framework in a way previously unprecedented: according to the Federal Statistical Office, in 2009, for every 100 people of an employable age (20 to under 65) there were 34 of pension age (from 65). In 2030, it will be more than 50. The town of Herbrechtingen identified the signs of the times and in spring 2012 funded a sports and exercise course. Ten training stations were implemented, which everyone has free access to.

The stations were constructed by the local building company, which also did the rest of the construction work. Three main sponsors joined forces to fund the estimated EUR 40,000 project: DRK, the TSV and the town of Herbrechtingen. In addition, the facility was subsidised by Württemberg Sports Association. Many smaller sponsors also did a good job.

The DRK nursing home came up with the initiative of making the idyllically situated area accessible to nursing home residents for this purpose as well. As Ulrich Herkommer, director of the DRK nursing service, is also Chairman of the TSV, Herbrechtingen's largest sports association was also on board. The TSV, which intends to increase its commitment within the remit of sport for older people, is taking on the role of supervising the sports park. As Technische Werke Herbrechtingen GmbH owns Brenz island, the town also had to be asked. The town happily agreed to the project, because "VitaGym exercise equipment promotes the social interaction of generations and the health of citizens," said Jan Antusch, VitaGym Product Manager of Erlau AG.


Georg Feth, Head of Department at the District Office called it a "successful achievement". Ulrich Herkommer described the course as a "contribution to public health." A TSV trainer will be there on a regular basis. Generally, the association wants to increase the focus on sport for older people. However, the sports and exercise park does offer younger people a whole host of possibilities as well. "It is intended for everyone," Jürgen Tränkle, President of the DRK district association, promoted the use of the facility. "Anyone who exercises will benefit greatly. You just have to do it". Michael Hellering, Member of the Management Board of Kreissparkasse, told everyone that his son had already tried out the equipment and thought it was great. Oliver Conradi, Member of the Management Board of Heidenheim Volksbank, encouraged Volksbank employees and others in Herbrechtingen to spend their lunch break there actively from time to time.

When the equipment was being selected, it was also ensured that the range was holistic and suitable for varying requirements of movement. This is why, for example, the MobiGym was installed on the exercise course in Herbrechtingen. The MobiGym mobilisation trainer mobilises shoulder joints and works on tension in the shoulder and neck muscles. The rotation discs enable the familiar "arm circle" exercise to be carried out correctly, even for people with restricted movement in their shoulder joints. The StepGym leg trainer trains leg mobility as well as thigh and calf muscles. The Backgym, Double Track and PedalGym have also been installed for fitness in Herbrechtingen.
The PedalGym bike trainer gently works on the muscles in the upper and lower body and facilitates flexibility in the joints. The handle bars enable you to maintain a secure grip during the exercises. The treads on the pedals are anti-slip. The handle grips and the seat are plastic and pleasantly warm. The upper body trainer is suitable for wheelchair users.
The StretchGym and TwistGym complete the range of exercise equipment.
The RotoGym arm/shoulder trainer trains the chest, shoulder and upper back muscles. It encourages flexibility in the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints and supports posture.

The public exercise park is just near the DRK nursing home. The equipment will be integrated into the daily therapeutic routine of the nursing home and will also be used by TSV Herbrechtingen for various sports groups, which are supervised and instructed here by voluntary members. Town residents also use the park for general fitness – after a jog or in their lunch break. A successful concept for the town.

"The number of VitaGym courses is steadily increasing. We are particularly proud that many of our customers are also medical facilities who want to equip their sensory, exercise and therapy gardens with our VitaGym equipment and outdoor furniture. The fact that medical professionals are also choosing our products speaks volumes," continued Antusch.

"Grow old healthily" is the motto. The money spent on the park is an investment in the future of a fast-ageing society.

Photos: Erlau AG

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