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Kind und Eltern beim Sport bei des Sportangebots Familie in Bewegung (Foto: Hannah Theile / Uni Magdeburg)
23.03.2023 from 
Campus + City
How the family gets going

When their offspring play sports after school, parents usually sit on the bench in the gym and wait patiently until they go home again. In the process, their gaze sometimes falls on the good old wall bars or the balance beam and awakens memories of times when they were more active in sports. How nice would it be if young and old could do sports together?

This is precisely the approach taken by the "Family in Motion" sports program offered by the University of Magdeburg Sports Center. Several times a week, families meet with trainers from the sports center to engage in physical activity primarily in the fresh air. The exercise concept is based on the sport of calisthenics, which has enjoyed increasing popularity for several years. It is a form of strength training that does not require weights or dumbbells and is performed using only the user's own body weight. The equipment park in front of building 40 of the university in the Zokkestraße is used for the training, which was rebuilt for children some time ago, so that all age groups can do gymnastics on it. Training only takes place in the gymnasium during the winter months. "Since many playgrounds in the city are either being renovated or newly built that include climbing equipment or nets, we also want to use our offer to provide ideas of what parents can do together with their children there," explains the head of the sports center, Dr. Mario Damerow.

The primary aim is to awaken the children's enjoyment of exercise. It doesn't matter what athletic prerequisites the participants have, since the training is individually adapted to the different needs. Since many children can develop postural weaknesses at a young age due to lack of exercise and prolonged sitting, a sport like calisthenics is an excellent way to playfully improve mobility, flexibility and endurance. "It's unfortunate that children and young people are doing less and less sports. When school hours are cancelled, this very often affects physical education classes. Yet physical activity does so much more than just promote health," says Dr. Damerow. After the social restrictions of the last few years, sports are generally a great way to get back into contact with each other and simply have fun together. The sense of togetherness can also help friendships develop beyond sports.

In order to give families who are very busy during the week the opportunity to take part in the course, the sports program also takes place on Saturday mornings. "We deliberately chose this time because, on the one hand, it gets dark early in the winter months and, on the other hand, many families think every weekend about what is best to do with the children. We want to give as many families as possible the chance to take advantage of the offer," explains Silke Springer, coordinator for occupational health management at Magdeburg University.

For those interested, it is possible at any time to take part in a non-binding trial lesson, even in courses that are already in progress. The sports-mad families always meet on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Since the sports program is sponsored by the Techniker Krankenkasse, it is free of charge for participants. Parents, grandparents or other family members can register themselves and their children aged 4 to 9 with a click on the website.

Author: Catherine Birke