FFor Ulrich Weibel, it is clear: “I would not be old enough without sports.” He is a strong old man with white hair, born in 1939 and lives with his wife in Bergen-Inckheim. In normal times, he maintains fitness in courses given by his coach Denis George of SG Enkheim. Denis George is very tough and demanding. “At first I asked myself if I wanted to do it myself,” says Voepel. “But now I’m glad I do.” The club hall remains closed during the closing weeks. However, Voepel continues the fitness courses. Physicality – via YouTube videos in his living room.
In the video, George presses the balls of her hands onto a blue sports mat, underneath you can see the brown tiled floor of the club. “Very short vacation. Collect power. And now the next ten! Or what would you think? “She asks provocatively and sympathetically in the camera and the next push-up begins. Dennis George’s exercises can be performed with only your body weight. So the risk of injury is lower than the weights, although Ulrich Voepel probably won’t fail with dumbbells either. The SG Enkheim sign hangs behind George – stretched in between Two silver glasses on a high wooden stool This wallpaper is her studio, which has been shooting her virtual fitness class since December.
Almost every week there is a new video via the link. And only for club members who participated in the George tournament before closing. Until December, she offered her lessons every Monday evening in the Volkshaus in Enkheim.
Denise George is also an old lady. And it’s also stiff and always good for informal saying. In one of her videos, she was initially enjoying the poor game Bayern Munich had played a few days earlier. She then asks her audience sympathetically, but firmly, on the floor of a living room, bedroom, or study. In addition to Voepel and another man, about 30 women train online. Most of them are between 25 and 50 years old. Voepel stands out because of its age. Yet he is fully involved. “When I hit my breath, I take a break,” he says calmly. But that doesn’t happen often. Some respectfully refer to Voepel as a “machine.”
“If someone wanted to start playing sports at age 82, they wouldn’t hold up in the training session,” explains Denise George. “But Mr. Voebel has been in sports for a long time, he can make up for it.” During the conversation, Voebel showed a faded color photo from 1984. It shows him and his wife, in the middle of the snow, at the top of a mountain. The two are dressed in colorful outfits and happily looking at the camera. “At that time, we went up to Mont Blanc,” he says. Kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, downhill skiing – he really did it all. “Oh, and I also ran two marathons in Frankfurt.”
Up to 10,000 vertical meters in one day
Voepel finally discovered his passion for cross country skiing in the 1970s. At that time he was living in Chicago for professional reasons. In the icy northern United States, a colleague introduced him to the new sport. Voepel has since wore a special watch: “AVOCET,” as he spells. The watch can measure altitude, making it ideal for hiking and mountain skiing. In February 2020, he and his wife were still on downhill skis. “We went up to 10,000 meters in one day,” says Voebel.
From a medical point of view, the Voepels family lives typical and age-appropriate. “Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to stay healthy for older people,” says GP Anton Flohr, who accompanies many elderly people with his practice. “Regular physical exercise within one’s range of capabilities is wonderfully appropriate for preventing cardiovascular disease. Older adults who have played a lot of endurance sports throughout their lives are less likely to have infections, chronic infections, and autoimmune diseases.”
Even if there is no ski slope in Bergen-Enckheim nor Mont-Blanc: Ulrich Voebel and his wife want to stay informed. “We will be missing something if we are no longer able to be physically active.” For both, the video courses are well suited to everyday life. “When we feel like it, we click on a video like this,” says Voebel. “We have a big sitting room. Then we place the computer on a shelf at the height of the stomach. Then we turn on the largest volume and join the gymnastics. “They are both very comfortable with the sport, he confirms.” But some say we’re crazy because it’s heartbreaking. But the pump still does! “