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Workout Gymnastics: How the Swiss have kept fit since 1832

Some say gymnastics clubs are like the glue holding Swiss communities together - and they are still going strong despite challenges from newer fitness forms. (SRF/swissinfo.chexternal link)

The first Swiss gymnastics society was founded in 1832, with the aim of beefing up young men in troubled times, as well as promoting friendship and patriotism.

Old style gymnastics involved lots of military style marching, with group leaders giving orders like army commanders. It was supposed to keep young Swiss men disciplined.

But all this changed after the international meeting of world gymnasts in Stuttgart in 1961, where the Swiss style of doing things drew criticism from German observers. In post-Nazi Germany, the drill and discipline where too reminiscent of recent history. 

The gymnastics societies that can be found in most Swiss villages have managed to maintain stable membership, thanks in part to adopting new styles influenced by aerobics and Zumba.

But the main reason for their survival could be that clubs represent an easy way for people, young and old, to get together, work out, and have fun.