According to the German Athletics Association (DLV), more people discovered running during the pandemic years. “Running and all outdoor sports in general were the winners in the pandemic,” said a spokeswoman for the DLV on today’s World Running Day.

However, this had no significant impact on the number of runners in clubs. “Rather, the individual, temporally flexible possibility of running was appreciated.”

This is also reflected in the number of participants in running events in Germany. While around two million people took part in runs every year up to 2019, the number had plummeted during the corona pandemic. In 2022, the pre-corona level has not yet been reached again. Last year, 1.1 million people took part in around 2,500 runs. In 2019, the DLV recorded 2.2 million runners at around 3,400 events.

remedy for lack of exercise

The sports doctor Leonard Fraunberger from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg sees running as a good way to counteract a lack of exercise. This is still a big problem in Germany. The consequences of a lack of exercise are cardiovascular diseases or poor blood circulation in the legs, said the Vice President of the Bavarian Association of Sports Physicians.

During the corona pandemic, many people gained a few pounds and the lack of exercise in society increased overall during this time, said Fraunberger. Exercise helps prevent a whole range of diseases. “Exercise has a preventive effect on cancer and respiratory diseases and also shows positive effects in dementia care, for example,” said the sports doctor.

Good for body and soul

If you go running, you also improve the interaction of nerves, muscles and joints. “Running strengthens the spine and thus ensures stable back muscles. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system.”

The healthy dose of sport, i.e. how much and how intensively someone should do sport, is different for each person. “Basically, it can be said that when jogging, for example, you should generally only run fast enough to be able to hold a conversation.” In this so-called aerobic area, the positive effects of exercise on health are greatest.