How fit should I be to walk the Camino?
The most frequent question asked is “How fit should I be to walk the Camino de Santiago”?
First of all, don’t worry. People of all ages and walks of life have been walking the Camino for over 1000 years. A pilgrim must be in a good walking condition to do the Camino. But we can help ease your worries.
It is best to walk at home and gradually increase the distance you walk each day. The best training would be to walk different types of terrain as well, pavement, gravel, hills, flat, etc… This will greatly improve your stamina. Also, walk with your pack as well as without during your training period. Wear your pilgrimage shoes, you want broken-in shoes to help your feet be more comfortable. We have found if you are in good walking condition, you will be fine on this pilgrimage.
Here is a List of Basic Hiking Fitness Tips
Two of the most common hiking injuries are ankle rolling and ankle sprains. If you’re out of shape or just haven’t been active for a while, start with some basic exercises to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up.
- Run or walk in sand: It builds the muscles that protect your knees and ankles.
- Build range of motion: Get a resistance band to strengthen your muscles through their full extension. Standing on a tennis ball or balance disc is great for this too as it builds the small stabilizer muscles around the ankle and knee.
- Crunches: Building your core strength will help you keep your balance on uneven surfaces.
- Squats and lunges: Keep your back straight and take each squat and lunge slowly to strengthen your core muscles.
- Push-ups: Good upper body strength (especially in your back) will serve you well on long trips where you need to carry a heavier pack.
- Cardio: Getting this is as easy as walking on a trail. (City-dweller? Hitting the treadmill or stationary bike at your local gym works too.) Whichever you choose, make sure to get your heart rate up. This will help build your lung capacity so you can hike longer.
- Step-ups: Before a backpacking trip, weight your pack (use 20 lbs. to start) and step up onto a park bench 16 to 18 inches high. Add 5 pounds a week until your pack is as heavy as it will be on your hike. To prepare for an extended, multi-day hike, do this exercise three times a week until you can do 700 steps in less than 30 minutes.
Here at Prayerful Path, we plan our walks with short days. These days are nice. They allow us to walk so our muscles keep moving, yet time in the afternoon to rest our bodies and feet. A little siesta, a nice meal, and a good nights sleep is always nice on the Camino