Lutheran priest teaches CrossFit and spirituality to Instagram followers

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By Euronews  with AFP
Oskar Arngarden at the chapel of Uppsala University Hospital.
Oskar Arngarden at the chapel of Uppsala University Hospital.   -   Copyright  JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP or licensors

A muscular Lutheran priest in Sweden is trying to give spiritual and fitness advice to his more than 31 thousand followers on Instagram.

Oskar Arngarden, a hospital chaplain in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, started his account under the handle 'crossfitpriest' in 2020. On the page, he posts his spiritual reflections and healthy life habits.

"A lot of people have been asking about my routines and training programs, so I try to put something out after every session so people can follow if they want to,” Arngarden said.

“And usually it's something with kettlebells, something cardio, something to get your heart rate up."

The 38-year-old father of two originally started a similar account on Instagram in 2019. He quickly gained 160,000 followers but was overwhelmed by the attention and deleted the account.

He then relaunched the page with a clearer idea of what to say, particularly in one of the world’s most secular nations.

"We need to find ways that the church is coming out to people to meet people, and where are people?” he said.

“They are on social media. So, we need to be on social media.”

Some of his followers message him directly to talk about their own lives of their spiritually, and it is these conversations that interest him the most.

"I want that interaction with other people, to hear their histories and stories," he said.

"It's a blessing to me just to listen to that."