Caldas De Reis – Padron

This stretch of the Camino leaves Caldas De Reis via the N-550 and continues into dense forests surrounding the Valga River, it is pleasant and shady blocking out the intense sun rays. The way is clearly sign posted with the blue and yellow signs showing how many km are left to walk to Santiago. As the route leads into villages, over bridges. After arriving in the town of Pontecesures, follow the bridge over the River Ulla, you can walk down the delightful promenade along the River Sat. In the centre of Padron is the church of Santiago, where you can see the Pedron, this is the stone where claims are made that the boat bought the remains of the Apostle St James, was moored. The group of walkers navigate through the town to our hostel for the night, where we enjoy excellent food to include tasty, traditional green peppers, accompanied by a very large youth club singing Camino songs.

Pontevedra-Caldas De Reis

On departing Pontevedra, I cross many rivers to include River Lerez over the O Burgo bridge. The way leads between the railway line and the River Grande, after much walking the route continues into the woods. It is extremely hot, but there are places to stop and rest. On approaching an idyllic village of Tibo, I join a large group of walkers, we make conversation as we stroll along and pass the Santa Maria church, arriving at Caldas, a spa town. From this point we follow the street Santa Marta, cross a bridge and arrive at a hot water spring town, there are more bridges to include the delightful medieval bridge over the River, bringing this part of the journey to a close.

Vigo-Redondela – Portuguese Camino

The coastal route

Vigo can be reached following the River Lagares which leads into Samil beach, there is much to see on this riverside walk. Vigo is a large town and perfect for an overnight stay. An early rise 7am to start walking to Redondela, it is dark and there are no arrows to follow, it can be difficult to get out of town. Eventually a group of us notice a faint yellow arrow, this leads the way into interesting streets and the old historic parts of Vigo and fishing areas of O Berbes, There is plenty to see in Vigo to include a Museum, the Church of Santiago and peaceful botanical gardens. There are many cafes offering great food and stamps for your passport on route. Many more walkers appear now and eventually after 5 hours, I reach the town of Redondela.

Exercise & Natural Environments

There is much research on the physiological and psychological aspects of physical activity and our well-being. However, have you considered how your environment influences your health?

Green Exercise

The majority of people live in urban cities, with an increase in technology and pollution, most exercise training takes places in a leisure centre or gym. There are multiple choices of exercising in the ‘great outdoors’ such as local green parks, beaches, gardens, beaches, coastal regions and forests. Studies have shown that exercising in a natural environment and engaging with nature have greater results on ‘mental well-being’ compared to training indoors. With longer and warmer days, integrate some outdoor exercise into your lifestyle and add some variety to your workout

Portugal-Santiago Camino

I am preparing for a summer Camino, Portugual to Santiago. This Camino is recommended as the next Pilgrim route to take for those who have some experience of the Camino Frances and it is growing every year in popularity. Apparently the route was popular in the middle ages resulting in many walkers from across Europe undertaking the challenge. This South to north Camino will involve some coastal walking, making it ideal for walking enthusiasts looking for a sense of adventure, whilst visiting interesting towns and villages, trying local cuisine and wine. Some Portuguese words would be useful I am told to integrate with the community.

Wellbeing at Work

Organisations and their managers can play an important role in their employees health and lifestyle choices. This is important as it will impact the company and its performance. Physical and mental wellbeing includes health promotion where managers can encourage employees in many ways, such as healthy eating, good posture, prevention of back pain as well as encouraging relaxation techniques.

Establishing strategies for wellbeing by developing a programme of initiatives is a good starting place, looking at what the organisation already does and then considering the changes which need to be implemented.

Psychology of Marathon Running

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Participants competing in long endurance events such as the Marathon has steadily risen over the years.  Data taken of both demographic and socio-economic groups from various studies has seen a rise in running becoming a popular sport.

The Marathon runner embarks on this challenge for many reasons and they must adapt their lifestyle and training far beyond the recreational exerciser to include high levels of demanding physiological and psychological adaptations to push beyond their current capabilities.  Furthermore, the rewards and positive benefits of this training will outweigh the negatives of marathon running.

The London Marathon is my third marathon, as a veteran runner I have improved with age, both on personal performance together with a faster post marathon recovery rate.  Training for a Marathon demands a consistent, disciplined, structured routine which will manifest into other areas of the runners life to include; personal goal achievement, better life management, psychological and emotional strategies for coping and better vitality and health.

London Marathon – Running Injuries

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Injuries are inevitable when participating in endurance events and can occur as a result of a breakdown in tissue and muscles being overloaded. With just over one week to go until London Marathon 2019, my plantar fasciitis has flared up again.  This condition can causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot.  Rest and ice are the best form of treatment together with a performance based Pilates exercise programme for the core, such as side plank, integrating foot muscle strengthening and flexibility in the lower limbs.

Mindfulness & Walking

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Walking serves many purposes to include physical exercise, fresh air, relaxation, companionship and travel.  There has been much research on the many benefits which walking and mindfulness offers to improve psychological health by; reducing stress, anxiety and depression, mental fatigue whilst enhancing mood and gaining more energy.  Try walking in a natural environment, near a river or forest.  As you walk take time to use all your senses, by noticing the sounds of the water, fallen leaves and branches underneath your feet as you walk.  Walking in nature enables you to connect with your natural surroundings and become more in tune with your natural body rhythm.

Goal Setting

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Are you embarking on a fitness challenge for 2019? It would be worthwhile setting some goals and targets to achieve the goal.  The quality of your goal needs to be SMART (Specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, time-framed).  First, consider the fitness challenge you would like to do, run a marathon, a 10K race, climb a mountain as a few examples.  The goal needs to be realistic, to be set within a time frame otherwise it won’t be achieved.  However, if it is not challenging enough you could lack the motivation to do it.

Goal Intensity – refers to the effort required to set a goal and how that individual is committed to the goal.  Research has shown that by setting specific, difficult goals, this can lead to a higher performance, rather than a vague goal.  Further studies outline the importance of a challenging goal to that individual, resulting in a focused approach to achievement.