Public health in Switzerland received a boost in 1968 when members of a Zurich men’s gymnastics club jogged through a forest and started using fallen logs, gnarled tree stumps and sturdy overhanging branches as gym apparatus. To save the team having to keep searching out and assembling new training stations over time, the Vita insurance company sponsored the first Vitaparcours fitness trail. Later, the Zurich insurance company took over.
Today there are 500 Vitaparcours trails in all throughout Switzerland: open round the clock, free to use, and in top condition thanks to a solid sponsorship arrangement. In the Engadin, seven of these facilities offer an atmospheric exercise opportunity in the open air and under the treetops – at Maloja, Pontresina, Samedan, Celerina, St. Moritz, Zuoz . Joggers can increase their stamina, work on their strength and/or boost fitness in general with exercises designed to improve agility and suppleness.
Then go for it! Not at a gym, but at Switzerland’s most uplifting outdoor fitness facility: our Engadin forests!
Running through a Vitaparcours is much more than “normal” jogging. Tackling these courses improves agility, boosts the cardiovascular system, builds up strength and is gentle on the joints… the full fitness package! It is therefore all the more important to be equipped with the correct running gear. You can find all you need to get the most out of a Vitaparcours here .
balance on the beam for 5 seconds, min. 1 rep
raise and lower body at the high bar, min. 5×
bend upper body to the side, min. 10× each side
quickly step on and off the log, min. 1 minute
However you tackle a Vitaparcours – alone, with a running buddy or with the family – the activity is a real pleasure for all. To maximise the fun, however, no one should feel under any pressure. Every jogger – and of course any hiker keen to try something new – can decide which training stations they want to tick off, according to their mood.
The components of the Vitaparcours trails are identical across the country: 15 stations with a total of 43 exercises (short courses have at least 6 stations). Each training installation has a blue sign with diagrams explaining the exercises, classified by colour. “Yellow” activities, for example, boost agility and suppleness; “red” exercises improve strength, and “turquoise” stands for stamina.
So much for the standard features. Everything else is determined by topography and the space available. The Vitaparcours trails in the Engadin have very different lengths: 0.9 km (Zuoz short course), approx. 2.4 km (Samedan, Maloja, Celerina), approx. 2.8 km (Pontresina, St. Moritz). The profile of the trails varies, too, from flat to steep: altitude differences along the courses vary from 0 m (Zuoz short course) to 120 m (St. Moritz), so some require more energy than others.