Exercise against Diabetes: Table Tennis with Paralympics Champion

The children participating in the initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit.”, developed by the DZD scientist Professor Karsten Müssig, trained in the German Sports and Olympics Museum with the table tennis paralympics champion Holger Nikelis. The purpose of the training session and the visit to the museum was to motivate the schoolchildren to take up sports.

Where better than in the German Sports and Olympics Museum in Cologne can children be motivated to take up sports and to exercise? For this reason, the sports museum invited the children participating in the initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." to a museum tour. The unique exhibits provided a great overview of the development of sports from ancient to modern times. In addition, the students completed a sports parcours, which included riding on a professional racing bike in the wind tunnel.

Following the tour of the exhibits, the students were able to test their prowess in a table tennis training session with one of the world’s best players. Holger Nikelis is a Paralympics gold medalist and world champion in table tennis and is active as a sponsor in the SMS initiative. He also gladly answered the children’s questions (photo on the right). “Our pedagogical concept is designed to motivate children to be active in sports. That is why we are pleased to support the SMS initiative,” said museum director Dr. Andreas Höfer. “Regular exercise from an early age is the foundation for a healthy life,” added project leader Prof. Karsten Müssig. The SMS initiative aims to encourage children to exercise more and eat better. In the long term, SMS seeks to raise awareness for a healthier lifestyle to prevent the development of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.
The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." headed by Prof. Karsten Müssig is aimed at children in Düsseldorf and Cologne primary schools. The participating children receive extra lessons on nutrition in cooperation with the Educational Center for Dietary Assistants of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie and take part in the exercise program for primary schools “Fitness for Kids” developed by sports scientist Dr. Kerstin Ketelhut. The two health insurance companies IKK classic and KKH, the organization diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid, renowned partners and prominent people support the project. The patron is Thomas Geisel, mayor of the state capital of Düsseldorf. The partners of the SMS initiative, which in Cologne include the German Sports and Olympics Museum, the Bakers’ Guild of Cologne / Rhine-Erft District, the Cologne Tennis and Hockey Club, the Stadium Rot-Weiss e.V., and SC Fortuna Cologne, provide the children with very attractive venues for learning outside of school.

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