Camino de Santiago is an excellent reason to take time out and integrate some walking mindfulness into your Camino. Be aware of the sounds of nature, the wind, sun, rain and other people. How can we become mindful of our experience of walking? Start with a natural relaxed walking rhythm, keep your attention in the soles of your feet, being aware of the alternating patterns of contact with your foot as it makes contact with the ground, then focus on sensations in your muscles and joints, expanding that awareness into your posture and breathing.
Considering walking the Camino-Frances. Why not start in Sarria – known for its fabulous hospitality and local traditional food. As you begin your walk, you will pass through stunning scenery, picturesque villages, hamlets and many beautiful landscapes, in rural Galicia. The atmosphere is unique. Once you arrive in Santiago, a UNESCO world heritage city, visit the cathedral, claim your certificate from the Pilgrim office. There is plenty of time to explore, reflect on your journey and relax in this stunning town. visit http://www.fitness-excel.com/home to view our video of Sarria-Santiago.
Adventure education is a type of experiential education, it is based on theories that individuals learn through direct experience rather than classroom based activities. Having walked with my daughter on the Camino de Santiago, it was apparent to see the many rewards of learning outdoors. The Camino also develops skills of resilience as participants have to walk day after day, some carrying 8kg backpacks in all types of weather. Adventure education focuses on self-esteem development, problem solving and effective communication skills. Furthermore, learning to undertake risk management skills, making decisions, planning a daily route of walking and navigating offers increased participation, interaction, a sense of achievement and learning which is relevant and meaningful.
Having just completed the Camino de Santiago, 112 km last leg, embarking on a long walk can reap many benefits. The Camino gives many qualities such as physical fitness and wellness, mental stamina, mindfulness, social health of interacting with like-minded pilgrims also on the same journey. Equally important is being surrounded by nature and taking care of the environment. The physical and social environment in which we live is very different from the one in which humans evolved, there have been dramatic changes in our diet, a decrease in our physical activity levels, increased stimulation from social media which has been associated with poor health. Walking the Camino enables us to get back to the basics, regular physical activity, less processed food, travelling light and taken time out for reflection.
Walking the Camino de Santiago is going to challenge all muscles and joints, particularly as the accumulation of mileage increases over the forthcoming days. Today’s exercise focus is on the pelvis, hips, hamstrings, quads and gluteals. Muscles undergo some form of conditioning during everyday activities such as stair climbing, getting up out of a chair and walking. However, when walking for a series of consecutive days it is important to ensure there is sufficient control of the pelvis when walking. There should be a balance of the hip musculature, so that the extensors do not overpower the flexors. A simple conditioning exercise to do is the ‘squat’, ensuring good joint alignment and positioning is undertaken when performing the exercise.
This is my second Camino de Santiago de Compostela and I am gathering everything together for the last leg of the trip. I want to help you with your packing if you are walking the Camino. As the walk is longer this year, I have made some adjustments to my packing.
Essentials: Cross trainers with insoles – I find these trainers much lighter than hiking boots as they are lighter, insoles help with plantar fasciitus, a painful foot problem. A massage ball to stretch and release any pain after each day’s walk. Fleeces, a light weight jacket with a hood, T-shirts, long sleeve breathable to wick away any moisture. The temperature can change, it could be chilly or hot, so you need to prepare for unpredictable weather. Leggings, these are a super, easy, light weight garment which can be rolled up and do not to forget to pack your shorts. Walking sticks, you can buy these from any outdoor store. A good supportive sports bra which avoids friction. Separate shoes to change into, socks (loads of pairs). First aid kit – plasters, taping, anti-inflammatory medicines. Maps, Credencial del Peregrine. Sun tan cream, glasses, camera, hat. Have a great Camino.
Studying abroad and undertaking a work experience placement is an incredible opportunity. It not only develops the individual personally, but also from an academic point of view. Spending 2-3 weeks or longer enables students to gain insight into a different culture, learn a new language and grow as a person. Other benefits include getting out of your comfort zone, boost your personal and professional skills. The Erasmus program is one way students can gain a new experience. One of the main reasons and benefits of Erasmus is it helps students enhance their CV and make them stand out in the job market. About 64% of employers consider an international experience to be important for recruitment. Furthermore, the student develops other skills such as flexibility, time management and using their initiative.
Take a look at our video project, involving students from two schools, learning vocational training linked to sports and fitness, Spanish and work experience in Tenerife. visit http://www.fitness-excel.com, training and education.
There are many reasons for neck pain and one of the most common factors include the ligaments over-stretching, which could be related to postural stress. Some examples include lying in an awkward position, sitting for prolonged periods at a desk or computer, sporting activities, playing an instrument, driving or gardening.
The neck has a high level of movement and flexibility due to the structure of the joints. The cervical spine which consists of 7 vertebrae, which rest upon each other. Separating the vertebrae are cartilages, these are called discs. Each joint is surrounded and held together by soft tissue which is supported by ligaments.
The neutral position of the neck should maintain a small curve, called the cervical lordosis and it is when the natural curve of the neck is lost or changed that pain could arise.
Thinking about how the neck is positioned on a daily basis, if the neck is protruded, could lead to over-stretched ligaments, an awareness of retracting the neck enables the cervical neck to maintain its lordosis.
Continue reading “Posture – The Neck”
Walking has often been recommended as a form of physical activity, some of the reasons to include that it is widely accessible, it does not cost, reduces weight, it has a low risk of injury and could be associated with improving mental health, calming the mind, relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
Research into the field of mental health and physical activity is growing and many studies have been conducted between links in walking, mental performance and cognitive functioning. Kramer, et al (1999) found that those who undertook walking or some form of cardiovascular fitness showed substantial improvements in mental cognitive functioning, for example, the speed and how quickly they could process and switch tasks. Further evidence supporting Kramer, may lie in the findings of Weuve et al (2004) who found that higher levels of regular, long term physical activity and training the cardiovascular system were associated with better cognitive performance, especially among older women. Other factors in the study included a better quality of life, self-esteem and general mood. By engaging in regular physical activity, can not only help with weight loss, an promote a sense of well-being, but may prevent mental health disorders.