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BERLIN – When Germany went into lockdown following last spring’s outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Erika Rischko, now 81, posted her first 12-second video on TikTok in which she danced with her husband to the famous Cha-Cha Slide line dance.

Since then, in order to inspire others to stay involved during lockdown, Rischko has uploaded more than 100 videos of herself performing exercises like planks and pull-ups, as well as dancing.


“Move and do something! Don’t just sit in a corner and mope. That’s just the worst,” she told Reuters.

On the TikTok app, which is extremely popular among teenagers and is best known for dance and lip-syncing routines and viral challenges, she has accumulated about 125,000 followers and more than 2 million likes.

She exercises by herself and takes on fitness challenges set by individuals who are decades younger than her in some of her clips, which her daughter shoots for her.

She and her partner, whom she met years ago at a dance festival, perform synchronized dance routines in other locations.

Rischko said she was particularly motivated by the comments posted by young people on the app, cheering her on.

“I’m really happy. I’ve never been as self-confident as I am now,” she said.

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