For Christoph Bründl’s meeting with Gernot Schweizer, the Creative Space at the Bründl Headquarters morphs into an exercise room. Hardly has the comfy set of seats and the carpet disappeared and the yoga mat rolled out than the studio, with its wrap-around glazing, seems to be a place where people train regularly – with a view out over the green flanks of the hills around Kaprun. Today, Christoph turns into a “sample student” for the exercises that Gernot has in mind, the latter having arrived armed with a gym ball and a Theraband. After all, the two aim to find out why movement makes you happy.
“What happens in the body when I am in motion?” Christoph wants to know. “It’s mainly hormones that play a role here: serotonin, dopamine, and of course your cortisol level. Cortisol is a stress hormone. By moving we can reduce the level of cortisol in the body, meaning that through training we can become more stress-resistant.” The question of why we nevertheless find it tough to motivate ourselves to do more sports and move more seems an obvious one to ask at this point. Motivation, Gernot replies, first requires self-reflection – meaning a knowledge of strengths and weaknesses, an inner insight and not one that can be influenced from the outside. “If I know the level at which I can perform, then I can train so that it does me good, and then I become happy,” he explains. “The problem is that the average person no longer lives ‘within themselves’ and as a result cannot achieve any sense of inner satisfaction. By contrast, he continues, Christoph is a prime example of physical wholeness and mindset.” Which, Christoph concedes with a smile, is the product of a lot of practicing mindfulness and the exercises Gernot has given him down through the years.
“To my mind, the key thing is vitality. I can be healthy, but not full of vitality and therefore not happy,” Christoph asserts, and Gernot fully agrees, saying: “Many a doctor won’t want to hear it, as they think health is the paramount thing. But vitality is actually what counts – and it’s the new status symbol come to think of it.” The two men likewise agree that en route to happiness vitality is king: Movement and health lead to inner satisfaction, and thus to vitality, energy, and happiness if they balance harmoniously. Gernot sums it up by saying: It is important that we do it, that we move! And you can start with a few of his exercises, for example