Our meeting point is Health Center E7, ten minutes’ walk from the baroque palace. It is early in the morning and we are standing in a cobbled courtyard shaded by trees. All around, the birds are singing. Then Viola Münch speeds around the corner on her mountain bike, effortlessly gliding over the bumpy ground, and springs down from the saddle. As she opens the door to the health center, the 27-year-old Münch explains that she started working at the IFS while she was a student. Now she is doing maternity cover for the deputy director. A narrow corridor leads into a large room filled with gym equipment. On the walls are tall mirrors, in the corners the dumbbells are neatly stacked up. “It’s quiet now, but in the afternoon, when the courses start, it gets really busy,” Münch explains. The health center offers body fitness courses, including Latin fitness, HIIT interval training, kickboxing, and Tabata workouts, as well as a wide range of health courses. You can get a sense of the variety that is on offer from the basement, where punchbags hang from the ceiling, the walls are lined with aerobic steppers and colorful exercise balls, and at the back TRX exercise bands dangle down. “We offer over 80 different sports, including lots of beginner courses. Many students come out of school gym classes thinking they aren’t that good at sports. Want to start ballet from scratch at age 20? You can do that here! We often hear that students only got into sports through the university sports program. They realized how beneficial it can be and what a great way it is to clear your head.” Another good place to clear your head can be found one square away, in C7: the IFS Dance and Yoga Center. In the inviting, brightly lit basement students can dance themselves into a sweat, while in the yoga studio upstairs the sunshine-yellow walls and comfy cushions create a wonderfully laid-back ambience. “Here in the yoga studio, you’ll often find students from all over the world taking a little break from their hectic routine. Some courses are run completely in English, and of course all our instructors speak English.” (Viola Münch herself among them.) During the lecture period, Münch teaches the women’s soccer course. She will also be giving a meditation course in the yoga studio and in the summer she takes students out mountain biking in the Odenwald.
Text: Jule Leger / October 2022