The Fitness Campaign in Austria in the early 1970s


The Fitness Campaign in Austria in the early 1970s – The Transformative Process to Postmodern Sports in Central European Societies

On 26th October 1971 the first national so called “Fit-walk and fit run” took place in Austria. It was the biggest mass sport event in the history of the country. Around 150.000 people participated. Still today the national Fit run and walk on the most important Austrian state holiday – commemorating the declaration of the Austrian Independence in the year 1955 – talks place.
This paper aims to examine the history, organization, financing, ideals and goals of the so called “Fit-mach-mit- Campaign” in Austria in the early 1970s.
The study focuses not only on the organizational history of the early Austrian fitness movement but also asks how and if the fitness movement can be examined more generally under the theoretical framework of fordist and postfordist sports in central European societies. That means to identify the key characteristics of modern and postmodern sports and to ask what role this campaign played in that transformative process. The thesis is, that this fitness campaign as a clearly to define phenomenon bears already some key elements of postmodern sports concerning especially the number and type (age, gender)  of participants /agents, the forms an type of organization, the contents and goals, the body concepts or the changing relation between body subjects and state intervention. On the other hand it can be shown that the “Fit-mach-mit-campaign” still beard important elements of the fordist sports ideology.  As a theoretical frame we use the theory of functional differentiation and modernization as well as the social-historical concepts of Fordism and Postfordism.



Müllner, R. (2018). "An das letzte Kind und an den letzten Senioren herankommen". Der nationale "FIT-Lauf und FIT-Marsch" als biopolitische Intervention. In R. Müllner, M. Marschik, A. Meisinger, J. Skocek & G. Spitaler, Images des Sports in Österreich. Innensichten und Außenwahrnehmungen. (S. 377-389). Wien: vienna university press.

Müllner, R. (2017). Die österreichische Fitnesskampagne zu Beginn der 1970er Jahre. Zur Analyse einer sportpolitischen Intervention im Spätfordismus. In D. H. Jütting, M. Krüger (Hrsg.), Sport für alle. Idee und Wirklichkeit. (S. 64-82) Münster: Waxmann.

Müllner, R. (2014). The Fitness Campaign in Austria in the Early 1970s: A Case Study in the Transformation Process in Postmodern Sports in Central Europe. ISPHES Congress Abstract Book. Global Perspectives on Sports and Physical Cultures: From Past to Presence, Doha, Qtar. 69.