Calisthenics and outdoor fitness, Tips and tricks / Our guide

Popular sports – popular sports for everyone


What does the term mass sport describe?

The term mass sport describes the sport that is practiced by people without a special interest in competitive sport. In contrast to competitive sports, the focus is not on the competition, but rather on the well-being of the athletes and the joy of doing sports together. Popular sport is aimed at all age groups and offers numerous opportunities to be physically active.

Compared to competitive athletes, recreational athletes also have the advantage that they do not have to put themselves under pressure in their sporting activity, but can design their training individually. However, there can also be overlaps between the two areas, for example in endurance sports or team sports.

In any case, both competitive sport and popular sport are important components of sport that enrich each other.

Where does the term popular sport come from?

In contrast to competitive sport, which focuses on participating in competitions and achieving top performance, the term popular sport describes a variety of sporting activities that can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels.

The term popular sport comes from the German-speaking world and emerged in the 1970s when the importance of sport for society changed. A larger number of people now had the free time to do sports and no longer wanted to find out about top sporting performances passively on television.

The term mass sport thus includes a wide range of sports such as jogging, yoga or swimming and has become an integral part of everyday life for many people.

The history of mass sport in Germany

Popular sport has a long history in Germany.

In contrast to competitive sport, which focuses on top athletes, popular sport is about making exercise and sporting activities accessible to the general public. Over the years, popular sport has become a important part of everyday life developed by many people. In comparison to competitive sport, the fun in the movement and personal wellbeing in the foreground.

Nevertheless, there are also overlaps between competitive and popular sport. Many former competitive athletes find a new challenge in mass sport and can pass on their knowledge and experience to others.

In short: mass sport has one in Germany important place in people's lives taken and is a great way to keep yourself healthy and active.

The founding of “The German Gymnastics Association (DT)”

The Deutsche Turnerschaft (DT) was founded in 1860 and was one of the first organizations dedicated to popular sports in Germany. Within a very short time, numerous gymnastics clubs were able to join the association and thus set an example for the importance of sport in Germany. While the DT later also promoted competitive sport, popular sport remained an important part of the association. Today, the DT stands for a diverse and healthy movement culture in Germany and is committed to the promotion of popular and competitive sports alike.

The influence on the culture of grassroots sport

Popular sport has a significant influence on culture in Germany. In contrast to competitive sport, which is primarily geared towards top performance and competitive success, popular sport is primarily about enjoying movement and improving physical fitness. Popular sport is therefore an important way to get people moving and to promote an active lifestyle, regardless of age and individual fitness. This is reflected in the culture, which is shaped by mass sport. Participating in sporting events and building communities around shared sporting activities creates a culture of health and well-being. Popular sport thus influences not only individual life, but also the entire social context.

The connection between mass sport and competitive sport

Recreational sport and competitive sport are closely linked. Popular sport is often regarded as the basis for competitive sport, since the physical and technical basis in many sports is only learned in popular sport. At the same time, competitive sport can also help to promote mass sport, since successful athletes can be role models for others and thus contribute to motivation. It is therefore important that both areas cooperate with each other and benefit from it. A well-functioning range of popular sports can produce talented young athletes who can then be successful in competitive sports. A successful competitive sports department can, in turn, help make the club or community more attractive for popular sports. In this way, the connection between popular sport and competitive sport can show that both areas can benefit from each other and thus play an important role in sport.

Mass sport and the changing times

Grassroots sport has changed a lot over time and is now more important than ever as it plays a significant role in promoting physical health and well-being. Regular physical activity can prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. It's nice that mass sport activities can adapt and that more and more people can find access to them. Popular sport is suitable for everyone and offers an ideal opportunity to stay physically and mentally fit.