The challenges of staying fit in Austria

So I’m pretty big on keeping fit and healthy. When I was living in Melbourne I pretty much stuck to the same routine all year round. Swimming has always been my favourite, followed by running and then I would usually add in a bit of yoga or some strength exercises to finish off the week.

And in Melbourne, while it can get quite cold on those winter mornings, it never really gets so cold that you can’t do one of the above-mentioned things.

But here in Austria, oh yes it does.

No one is outside playing today!
No one is outside playing today!

Here in Austria there are two distinct sport seasons: summer and winter. And even if a sport does cross over into both seasons, you have to source a completely different outfit for each.

You could say that a lot of people go into hibernation in the winter, though I wouldn’t say they were inactive. Even on some of the coldest winter days I’d still see old couples taking their daily walk through the ice covered streets and people riding their bikes to school or uni. In winter most outdoor sports just don’t happen, unless they require it to be cold, like skiing, ice skating and ice hockey. Of course there are indoor places for things like tennis and swimming but otherwise, it’s just not happening.

First snow walk of the season.
First snow walk of the season.

Summer, on the other hand, is a whole new species. Everyone is out and about once the weather starts warming up: kids running around everywhere and people enjoying afternoon drinks on their balconies (sundowner). Also, Nordic Walking is huge here. I call it stick walking and I’m happy to say it’s on my weekly exercise list!

Martini sundowner... don't mind if I do!
Martini sundowner… don’t mind if I do!

Though I must admit that winter here is slightly depressing and probably worse if you have a job and are literally going to work and coming home in the dark. But as I didn’t, I could get out in the middle of the day, when the temperature sometimes hit a glorious 2°C (on a good day) and have a brisk walk to keep my spirits up. Or on freezing, snowing, sleeting days I could relax with a warm cup of tea and watch the winter wonderland from the comfort of my own lounge room.

Definitely not going outside today!
Definitely not going outside today!

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