And more besides! Walking is probably the world’s oldest exercise craze and is currently experiencing a massive upsurge in popularity. It therefore comes as no surprise to Teresa Wiedemayr, a sports therapist and walk leader at the Health Retreat Park Igls since 2014, that interest in her guided Sunday walks continues to grow.

Regular walking wards off diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis, venous diseases, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and more. Plus, walking kicks your inner self-saboteur into touch: it reduces stress, prevents burn-out, promotes the production of serotonin and can help to dispel chronic fatigue and depression.

Walking: the secret fat-burning weapon

The native East Tyrolean is convinced that ‘The faster the world turns, the more we crave slowness.’ Anyone who thinks that walking is just for the retired or school trips is labouring under a misapprehension, for walking has undergone an image transformation. Walking doesn’t only reflect the contemporary desire to slow down the fast pace of life – it’s good for you and, when poles are used, is both a gentle yet effective form of endurance training, engaging virtually every muscle group and strengthening the immune system.

Walking in the mountains burns around 400 calories per hour – more than cycling and almost as many as jogging. ‘Furthermore, walking is much more gentle on the joints, and suitable for anyone unaccustomed to exercise as well as those resuming training after a break’, explains Teresa Wiedemayr.

Are there any risks or side effects?

Just aching muscles if you overdo it at first, and maybe a few blisters from ill-fitting footwear. It seems that walking, along with laughter and a healthy diet, is indeed the best medicine.

Some of our favourite routes around the Health Retreat Park Igls include the easy ‘Glacier View’ circular walk (5km), the walk across the moor to Lake Lans (4.5km), the long inter-village circular walk (13km), and the walk along the Zirbenweg trail (7km), particularly recommended for its amazing views.