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.