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Under fitness well-being is generally understood physical and often mental. Fitness expresses the ability to be efficient in everyday life and to withstand stress. The term is imprecise in that it cannot be clearly defined as a fashionable term and is interpreted differently by different people and interest groups.

The risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart attack and obesity can be reduced through targeted fitness training . The ability to concentrate and learn is increased. People who keep fit are considered healthier and, statistically speaking, have a higher life expectancy .

The fitness of body and mind includes, on the one hand, regular physical activity and, on the other hand, a healthy, balanced and nutritious and fiber-rich diet . Unhealthy supplements (doping, anabolic steroids ) are just as incompatible with fitness as the restriction to pure strength training .

History of the fitness movement

Outdoor sports facility for children, around the 19th century.

The fitness movement has two sources: On the one hand, there was a counter-movement against increasing urbanization (combined with the commercialization of leisure time), a movement in the USA to also commercialize personal health. The most prominent representative was Bernarr Macfadden , whose motto Weakness is a crime ( weakness is a crime ), the fitness movement towards a bodybuilding led movement. These ideas are closely connected with the Swedish gymnastics according to Pehr Henrik Ling , whose ideas were then adapted to the modern conditions of industrialization by the Swede Gustav Zander .

The second origin lies in the organized sports movement of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in Germany around 1810. His intention was to create a physically fit vigilante group and to liberate Prussia, which was occupied by Napoleon. Sports clubs were strongly politically motivated at that time. Due to the strongly politically motivated Jahn gymnasts' associations and clubs, these were largely banned. This led to the first commercial establishments in some cities from around 1820. At the end of the 19th century the modern idea of ​​fitness emerged from this as a non-club sport in the German mostly bourgeois life reform movement. Movement in the open air (or with the window open) was understood as a compensation for the increasingly industrialized environment. Even then, numerous places of power and art, called light and air baths, were built. They trained strictly according to gender. Systems for home gymnastics (for example by August Sandow or JP Müller ) were also widespread, with emphasis on efficiency and discipline in training even then. Magazines such as “ Kraft und Schönheit ” made fitness known. Numerous fitness machines such as rowing and bicycle ( spinning ) machines date from this time. At first they were mainly used in the sanatoriums .

During National Socialism , the idea of ​​fitness was perverted ( Leni Riefenstahl , Hans Surén ) and a new Aryan ideal body was modeled that excluded others, especially disabled people. The individual should steel himself to meet the demands of the Darwinist struggle for survival of the peoples. These approaches were discredited after 1945.

The idea of ​​community-oriented gymnastics and sports clubs was brought to the USA by German emigrants, where the first “gymnastics clubs” that competed with the “clubs” and the YMCA were formed in large cities . It was not until the 1960s that the fitness movement in Germany was imported from the United States and increasingly commercialized. The most important icons of the fitness movement are Arnold Schwarzenegger ( bodybuilding ) and Jane Fonda ( aerobics ). Jack Günthard was a pioneer of the fitness movement in Switzerland . His morning radio show " Fit with Jack " from 1975 was intended to promote health awareness among the audience.

With the Olympic Games in 1972, the fitness movement started by the German Sports Association in 1970 became very popular.

A real “fitness boom” began in the 1980s. One of the hallmarks of this boom was the rapidly increasing number of so-called “fitness studios”, in which those who want to be fit can train for a fee. Today these studios are partly organized in chains.

The topic of fitness has also made itself felt on social media platforms in recent years under the hashtag " Fitspo" (abbreviation of "Fitspiration"; word composition from English: "Fitness" and "Inspiration"). By February 2018, around 14 million photo posts, mainly on Instagram, had been posted under the hashtag #Fitspiration. This modern fitness trend is intended to motivate other users and followers to adopt a healthier lifestyle through exercise and a balanced diet. A negative effect of this movement that is not to be despised is particularly noticeable in young adults and teenagers: constant comparisons can put frustration and a reduction in self-esteem at risk for mental and physical health.

Fitness training in the present

Fitness training is an extremely broad term. In principle, every healthy sporting activity is a form of fitness training, e.g. B. Training in sports clubs , in the fitness studio or even avoiding escalators and elevators in favor of stairs - so also exercise in everyday life . Targeted fitness training usually includes detailed training planning , which consists of endurance training , strength training , training of speed, flexibility and coordination , as well as interval training . Taking into account health aspects and age, it is also important for children and adolescents to increase their fitness, coordination and resilience.

Fitness and health

Fitness has gained increasing importance in connection with preventive measures against illnesses and cancer, a widespread disease / disease of civilization . This is especially true of lung cancer and colon cancer . For this reason, Deutsche Krebshilfe and its self-help organizations have combined their appeal for healthy living and fitness with a comprehensive range of up-to-date information that is made available free of charge for the “ Colon Cancer Month March 2012” in Germany. Guidebooks, prevention leaflets, posters and patient information films on DVD can be ordered from Krebshilfe or downloaded from the Internet.

The experts blame a sedentary lifestyle and obesity for the high incidence of colon cancer. The medical director of the Center for Prevention and Sports Medicine, Martin Halle ( Technical University of Munich ) calls on citizens to exercise for at least half an hour every day in order to achieve and maintain fitness.


Web links

Commons : Fitness  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Fitness  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. James C. Whorton: Crusaders for fitness: the history of American health reformers. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton 1982.
  2. ^ Robert Ernst: Weakness is a crime. The Life of Bernarr Macfadden. Syracuse University Press, New York 1991, ISBN 0-8156-0252-9 .
  3. Arnd Krüger : History of movement therapy. In: Preventive Medicine. Springer Loseblatt Collection, Heidelberg 1999, 07.06, pp. 1–22.
  4. ^ A b DSSV employers' association of German fitness and health systems: History of fitness training. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 2, 2015 ; accessed on October 14, 2015 .
  5. Arnd Krüger, Bernd Wedemeyer (Hrsg.): Kraftkörper - Körperkraft: To understand physical culture and fitness yesterday and today. Booklet accompanying the exhibition in the entrance hall of the new university library; 3.7. - July 31, 1995. Göttingen: SUB 1995, ISBN 3-930457-06-7 .
  6. Laura Dennison, Daniella Francis, Zara Tappy, Katherine Morton, Stephanie Easton: Young People's Experiences of Viewing the Fitspiration Social Media Trend: Qualitative Study . In: Journal of Medical Internet Research . tape 20 , no. 6 , 2018, p. e219 , doi : 10.2196 / jmir.9156 ( [accessed January 23, 2019]).
  7. What is fitness. Retrieved October 14, 2015 .
  8. Nationwide appeal of the team of experts on colorectal cancer month of March 1, 2012, accessed on December 3, 2014.