German Gymnastics Federation launches two new projects
ISCA member the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) has embarked on two new cross-sector health-enhancing physical activity projects. The first, “Sure-footed through life” will match DTB’s expertise in active ageing with health, insurance and community stakeholders to scientifically develop a fall prevention programme for elderly people living in rural Germany. The second, “Company fitness and health promotion”, in collaboration with German health insurance company DAK, will establish cooperations between companies and sports clubs to deliver activities promoting physical activity in the workplace.
In January, DTB reported in its bimonthly publication TurnMagazin that approximately one third of Germans aged over 65 years fall over at least once a year. The total number of falls is estimated at a staggering four to five million in Germany with increasing age typically worsening the consequences of the fall.
These statistics, combined with a significant lack of strength, balance and fall prevention programmes available for elderly people in rural areas, prompted DTB and its project partners the Social Insurance Company for Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture (SVLFG), the German Country Women's Association and the medical research institute at the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart to start “Sure-footed for life”. The programme is based on a successful model previously trialled in Bavaria.
“Sure-footed through life” began in December 2013 with a training course for staff who will deliver pilot fall prevention training courses in several German regions this spring.
DTB’s “Company fitness and health promotion” programme focuses on physical activity awareness for adults who are still active in the workforce. The German federation recognises that occupational health promotion has become “an indispensible building block for modern companies”, and that physical activity’s ability to improve staff members’ health and motivation, increase their productivity and reduce the amount of sick leave they take opens up opportunities for sports clubs to provide exercise programmes for companies.
Company fitness is a market that few small or medium-sized clubs have experience in delivering. However, they can offer the coaching staff, facilities, equipment and training session structures that the companies lack. By working together, the clubs and companies in the programme are developing customised workshops, health days and consultation themes that complement the company’s needs.
The target group for the “Company fitness and health promotion” programme is small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a total staff of less than 500 people. DTB and the DAK insurance company is now establishing a network of clubs, trainers, consultants and companies to encourage them to connect with suitable partners in their regions.
The programme highlights a win-win approach for both the grassroots sport and the business sector. It also presents a new field of work for clubs that can expand their membership base and establish them as a valuable partner in health promotion.