“The physical movements of these two sports is the first thing I’d like to mention,” says Florian Punzenberger. The 34-year-old, who grew up in Schoppernau, now works as a physiotherapist and lives in Egg. “Looking more closely at the human anatomy, we are clearly runners by nature. That is, our bodies work best when they can move naturally.” In classic cross-country skiing in particular, people move their muscles the way they should. Sitting down to drink a beer, on the other hand, is not very healthy: sitting down too much can cause digestive problems. Cross-country skiing helps: “Moving in diagonal axes corresponds to our basic structure. Breathing is an important consideration. Correctly practicing these sports results in natural, rhythmic breathing. Our bodies are capable of functioning at very different rhythms. The breath forms a bridge and we very easily get into a so-called ‘flow’, a state that simply carries us along. This also benefits the psyche: ideally, the mind becomes clear and one loses a sense of time. For this to happen, concerns about performance and competitive thinking must take a back seat. Punzenberger considers cross-country skiing and winter hiking to be holistic sports and he really knows his stuff. After his basic training as a physiotherapist, he completed a six-year master’s course in osteopathy at the Danube University Krems. An education in paediatric osteopathy and four semesters of philosophy in Vienna followed. But his thirst for knowledge is far from satisfied: at the moment he concentrates on yoga and meditation. “Continuing education is my hobby, so to speak,” he says with a smile. “But the more you know, the more you realize how little you know.”
Feel the ski flow!
Why winter hiking or cross-country skiing? Quite simply because the movements in these sports correspond well to our body. Bregenzerwald physiotherapist Florian Punzenberger explains why these sports are so positive for health and well being.
According to Punzenberger, the biggest differences to skiing and snowboarding are the places where these winter sports are enjoyed: “Cross-country skiing and winter hiking are usually a little quieter. You can concentrate on yourself and the landscape. Added to this is the movement sequence. In our everyday life, we have a tendency to direct our actions forward and thus limit our pattern of movement. This can be noticed, above all, in the squatting position when skiing. Cross-country skiing is exactly the opposite. It requires our bodies to be erect and to extend, which also means an opening up of the body.”
The positive side effect: digestion and metabolism are stimulated and the lung capacity is expanded. As a winter sportsman, Florian Punzenberger enjoys the advantages of his home state. After his years in the city, he doubly appreciates the variety of winter sports on offer in the Bregenzerwald, whether for beginners or professionals:
From a flat cross-country ski run for beginners to demanding snowshoe hikes, I can start here with everything at my doorstep.
He recommends the routes in Schoppernau and from Hittisau to Balderschwang to guests who enjoy cross-country skiing. He considers the area around the Neuhornbachhaus mountain inn in Schoppernau at an altitude of 1,700 metres to be an insider tip, especially for sledging fans, winter hikers and snowshoe hikers: “The scenery is simply breathtaking and for me its a piece of home as a resident of Bregenzerwald.
Author: Thorsten Bayer
Edition: Winter Travel Magazine 2018-19