Munich is the 2025 host city for the prestigious ISAKOS Congress of the International Society for Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopedic Sports Medicine. Professor Dr. Andreas B. Imhoff is the local host. The world-renowned sports orthopedist ranks the importance of the congress for the MICE industry while offering tips on how we can best stay healthy and fit at trade shows, congresses, and events. The practical advantage is that although Professor Imhoff’s answers come from a specialist, his tips apply to all types of events.
Professor Imhoff, if you could briefly explain to us the significance of the ISAKOS Congress for your profession?
ISAKOS is the world's largest association of orthopedic surgeons who deal with sports injuries. It was founded 20 years ago. The association has 6,000 members worldwide and is a professional association for education, research, knowledge transfer, fellowships, etc. The congress is held every two years and connects experts from around the world.
What do you expect from the congress at Munich’s International Congress Center in 2025?
Many of us believe that if we’re the best at home, we’re automatically the best. That's not true. Only if you who can compete and prove yourself internationally are you the best. That's why I believe we need congresses like this. And that's why I'm glad that we've managed to bring the congress to Munich for the first time. I expect an international transfer of knowledge and exchange at the highest level.
To what extent is Munich predestined for such a congress?
In contrast to other cities, Munich offers outstanding infrastructure. The unique thing about Munich is that our city not only has a heart and it’s very nice here, but that everything else is just right here as well. Besides, it is a safe place to come to. That's very important to Americans, for example.
What do you consider to be the heart of Munich and shouldn’t be missed on any congress visit?
I think Munich’s old town is beautiful – the area around Marienplatz with the City Hall, the Residenz nearby, the Opera House, the area around the Hofbräuhaus. It’s all really nice. A visit to the old town also gives you the chance to stretch your legs a bit and get some exercise. From a health perspective that's very important during such intense events.
As a doctor and experienced congress attendee, I'm sure you’ve got a few tips on what we should do to stay fit. So let's start with the trip itself. What do I need to pay attention to during a long flight?
A long flight is a very special situation as we’re at an altitude of around 10,000 meters. This means that the oxygen pressure is no longer like it usually is. Your blood pressure isn’t the same either – your blood congests and you have to do something about blood congestion. Heparin, for example, can be helpful. That’s because it’s like in an operation where there’s also an increased risk of thrombosis and subsequent pulmonary embolisms.
It’s important to drink a lot because the air in a plane is drier than usual. It’s always recommendable to move around on a plane – though this is difficult in a confined space. As a physician on board a plane, I often get called to pseudo-emergencies. Passengers feel heart pain, get lung problems or are short of breath because they’ve been passively stuck in their seat for many hours.
I sit a lot at congresses as well. How can that be avoided?
We structure our congresses in 60- to 90-minute blocks. After that, your concentration has gone anyway. During the breaks, it helps to take a few steps. Particularly in sports medicine we have speakers who ask their audience to move around during a talk.
What mistakes can I make as a congress visitor in health terms?
The first mistake I’d see is taking on too much. It's like in school – a too tightly packed program doesn't do any good.
A congress day doesn’t usually end when the day’s program has finished but continues with dinner. Is that the right thing to do after a long day?
On the one hand, you need enough sleep to recover. On the other hand, exchanges with like-minded people are absolutely necessary to stimulate your brain cells. That makes it much easier to process the information from the day. Otherwise, there's a risk that we'll go home and be unable to categorize what we've heard. So the mix is important. Many modern congresses are already organized in such a way that there are lectures, discussion panels, and opportunities for exchanges.
Do you secretly do exercises at congresses or events?
When I'm at a congress, I go running for half an hour at six every morning – that’s really good for me. In most hotels there’s also the chance to go to a gym. Americans are much better at this than we are. You see them in the gym from four or five o'clock. At ISAKOS, we’d also like to schedule morning runs – they’re great opportunities for job-related conversations. At the same time, Munich is a wonderful place for runs from the city center along the River Isar to the English Garden. The city's green lung is within easy reach of the major hotels.
So walking in the morning and then a fulfilling day at the congress. What about evening activities?
I think the evenings are very important for congresses. We've lost that a bit in recent years. That's why the worst thing is when the congress center and the hotels are on the same site and there are no possibilities for going out. Our trump card in Munich is the variety and large selection of locations.
The best place for a sundowner in Munich?
What do you prefer, a beer garden with beer or a bar with a white wine spritzer?
In Munich it's a beer garden. If I'm in Switzerland, I prefer pure white wine.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Brauerei Gasthof in Aying.
Where do you most like to come back to when you’ve been away from Munich for a while?
Marienplatz and the surrounding area.
What’s your favorite destination for a trip out of Munich?
Lake Tegernsee or Tegernsee Valley.
What’s the most beautiful lake in the Munich region?
Traditional Bavarian costume or normal dress?