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Fitness and Sport for Expats in Germany

Submitted: October 2013

Germans love sports. There are estimated to be 90,000 sports clubs throughout Germany with 27 million members, all of which fall under the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), a non-governmental organizing body of German athletics. For up-to-date sports information- www.deutschland.de/en/sports.html

Football isthe most popular sport in Germany. With a total of 178,000 teams and 6.2 million members, the German Football Association (DeutscherFußball-Bund) is the largest individual sports body within in the DOSB. It organizes German football leagues, including the Bundesliga, and national teams.Their website provides information about the various teams within the leagues as well as rankings in English https://www.bundesliga.de/en/.

As much as football is well loved, Germans also spread their sports enthusiasm into many other activities.

Gymnastics - The Association of German Gymnasts has over five million members. Turnverein, a tumbling or gymnastics club, can be found in almost any village. For reasonable yearly fees (approximately €100), most local Turnvereins offer tumbling, gymnastics and aerobics classes.

Swimming - Pools can be found everywhere, from local village outdoor pools, to indoor, amusement water parks. Nearly every German city offers a Freibad (an open-air water park). Many of these are large and offer multiple pool areas, allowing children and recreational groups to be separated from the more serious swimmers who wish to make laps unencumbered.

Most Germans who enjoy sports activities are likely to do so as part of a club, or Verein. Joining a club can be a pleasant way of meeting new people and integrating into the community. There may be volleyball, boxing, handball, rugby, tennis, and basketball clubs amongst others. Clubs often have their own gym, sports facilities and clubrooms.


Apart from the individual sports clubs, Germany offers opportunities to those who wish to keep fit. There are approximately 6000 fitness centers throughout the country. Germany's health care systems often pay for certain specialized fitness classes and it is advisable to consult your insurance provider before you sign up. Below are some fitness franchises:

  1. PowerFrauBootcamp - www.powerfraubootcamp.de (English website)

    PowerfrauBootcamp is the only English speaking Bootcamp. It runs largely outdoor sessions specifically designed for women to help achieve weight loss and maintain fitness by combining specialized resistance exercise and cardio. It caters for all levels of fitness.

    Location: Düsseldorf

    Fees: There are 3 different packages beginning at € 89 per month. Free trial sessions are available.

    Opening Hours: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays

  2. McFit - www.mcfit.com (German website)

    There are160studios throughout Germany. This is one of the cheaper gyms in Germany with the most extensive opening hours, however no classes are offered. Instead, the gym set-up is based on a color-coded training system separated by zones:

    • Yellow zone- beginner
    • Green zone - intermediate
    • Red zone - Advanced
    • Blue zone - Cardio equipment

    Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 24 hours a day

    Fees: Fixed membership rate: € 19.90/month (plus € 19 for the membership card) with a minimum contract of 12 months. Free trials are available

  3. Injoy - www.injoy.de (German website)

    There are146 locations throughout Germany. Each individual location has different amenities. The Injoy franchise is unique because of its specialized weight-loss courses as well as targeted back training (both of which can be subsidized by health insurance providers); and due to the fact that the franchise takes various forms:

    • Injoy (regular gym facility)
    • Injoy Med (specializes in physiotherapy)
    • Injoy Lady (a gym geared towards women)

    Opening Hours: All locations vary in size and opening hours. Free trials are available.

    Fees: No available information about fees.

For those who prefer biking, Germany has over 40,000 km of marked biking trails. To find out more about biking in Germany, in English, see: www.bicyclegermany.com.

Volksmarching is a form of organized weekend walking along forested paths, for a range of distances between 5 – 10 kilometers, which involves registration for a minimal fee. Some walk as club members while others walk individually. At designated points along the trail, stops are made to stamp a card collected at the beginning. Upon completion, walkers turn in their cards to collect a small prize. It is a wonderful way to see the countryside on foot. See www.IVV-web.org for information (in English) about Volksmarches.

Finally, to find out about all the sporting activities available within a 50-kilometer radius of any German hometown, visit: www.citysports.de. The website is in German however, it is not difficult to navigate andit provides many links and contact information.



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