The fact that sufficient exercise should promote health was a novelty for many of Kneipp's contemporaries. Those who could afford it were even anxious to be as physically active as possible. Railways, trams and velocipedes - the ancestor of today's bicycle - were the means of transport of choice for many, even for short distances. This was a development that Kneipp was quite critical of, as he always preferred work and exercise in nature to the predominantly sedentary activities of city life.sedentary activities of city life.city life.
Runs for you: How exercise and health are connected
It reduces stress, prevents illness and can even cure it. We are talking about exercise: Those who regularly exercise not only do something good for their body - the mind is also sustainably relaxed. Sebastian Kneipp already knew about the value of "sensible exertion" and its positive effects on the entire organism. The focus is always on healthy moderation, which instead of perfection and self-optimization focuses on your personal well-being.
This 'machine', which is both the dwelling-place and the tool of the human spirit, must also be in constant activity! ”
Especially for people who move little in everyday life, Kneipp therefore recommends: "That all parts of the body come into activity, so that bad substances do not accumulate in different places." The aim is both to stimulate blood circulation and to maintain and increase physical strength. Above all, the Swabian priest sees the regularity of repetition as the most efficient way to greater health through exercise.
Light, air & love of nature: Why it's better to move outside
Just as daily work must find a balance between physical overload and underload, Kneipp exercise therapy should also neither overstimulate nor underload the body and mind. According to the naturopath, the light factor is of great importance here. "He who lives and exercises in the full light of day and in the most beautiful sunshine will preserve the healthiest eye and the healthiest body, so far as light can act upon it." But Kneipp also attributes special healing properties to the air - especially since he already knew at that time that breathing in oxygen is essential for blood formation and purification.
For Kneipp, the ideal outdoor activities at that time were considered walks, hikes, short running sessions and physical activity that got the circulation going. Important: In any activity the whole body should be strengthened - if necessary also through different training units. To intensify the health-promoting effect, he advised adding conscious breathing exercises.
To whom his health is dear and precious, let him do his utmost to spend his time in pure air, and most carefully avoid breathing bad, foul air! ”
The healthy measure: an exercise therapy for all
As with the other teachings of his philosophy, Kneipp also attached great importance to a holistic therapeutic concept when it came to exercise. Therefore, Sebastian Kneipp considered exercise as an individual form of training - always depending on the age, constitution and occupational stress of the respective patient. Particularly innovative and forward-looking for the time: even sick people could participate in the healing effects of exercise therapy in the form of remedial gymnastics.
Although Kneipp by no means saw himself as an ascetic, he nevertheless attached importance to a certain consistency. Excuses or cheat days? No way! "What one wants and therefore seeks, one also finds, and one will therefore already be able to create an opportunity to exercise one's bodily powers in a reasonable manner."
From shopping on foot to gardening to walking up and down stairs, the possibilities for physical activity in Kneipp's spirit are almost endless.
Or you can opt for "room gymnastics": a combination of stretching, dumbbell and free exercises that will certainly bring back memories of Cross Fit, Pilates & Co. not entirely by chance ...
Find your centre - with exercise according to Kneipp and sufficient rest periods.
Either way: According to Kneipp, the path to lasting health of body and soul leads through a natural way of life that is moderate. This includes meaningful work as well as healthy nutrition, sufficientexercise and conscious regeneration. The magic word here is also: Balance. If you apply the 5 pillars of Kneipp's philosophy in the right measure for you, if water, plants, movement, nutrition and balance intertwine, you can maintain and specifically promote your physical and mental health.