1978 Johan Holmsäter had an idea. He wanted people to start exercising, not just once but for the rest of their lives.
Johan created a social meeting point; open to everyone, with a relaxed unpretentious atmosphere. These things made it easier to get started.
He realised that the exercise has to be fun so that people would be keen to continue to work out for the rest of their lives; not only the actual workout but also to engage in everything that surrounds it. Fun exercise in a relaxed social context increases the chances that you would like to come back.
Johan launched ‘Jympa’, a new ground breaking type of exercise that trained everything that the body needs in less than an hour. It was fun and easy to join! But ‘Jympa’ was not only a type of exercise, it was a philosophy.
‘Jympa’ was as much about the experience as the physical effect. It was not about having a body - it was all about being one.
Friskis&Svettis roughly translates as ‘Healthy&Sweaty’ in Swedish and the activity combined knowledge from healthcare and sports under one roof. During the first years the exercises were divided into two parts: ‘Friskis’ were classes for people that could not participate in regular classes: injured, older, pregnant and others. ‘Svettis’ were classes for the others, fit and healthy ones.
But the most important in the idea was the ‘&’. It symbolised the bridge between ‘Friskis’ and ‘Svettis’. That way people could exercise throughout their whole lives.
Just one person came to the first ever class, but within only a few months its success was a fact. The classes were full and Friskis associations were started up around Sweden. Friskis grew from being a small student movement, and spread to different age groups, places and strata of societies. Today, 40 years on, we are the biggest sports association in Sweden with over 500,000 members in Sweden alone and more than 550,000 in all Europe!
Throughout the years the separation between ‘Friskis’ and ‘Svettis’ has dissolved. Instead the range of workout styles grew; dance, spinning, outdoor training, indoor walking were introduced to name a few. The development is ongoing and the concept of exercise as a part of every aspect of life is still central.
Today Friskis has around 80 types of exercises. Not all the associations deliver all variations, but each one has ‘Jympa’. Regardless which practice you do, all have the same basic philosophy: we focus as much on the quality of the workout as on a really positive, even fun experience. It´s not about having a body, it´s about being one!