During the Roman Empire all roads led to Rome, and if you follow any of the network of tracks created by the empire you will reach the eternal city starting from any point.
But this summer many roads will lead to Santiago de Compostela, one of the three great pilgrimage destinations of Christianity that also celebrates the To Santo Compostelano when July 25 coincides on a Sunday. For this reason, an increase is expected in the number of pilgrims who decide to spend part of their summer holidays on foot, by bicycle or on horseback along the pilgrimage routes until they reach the tomb of the Apostle Santiago.
If you choose to do it, before you start walking there are a series of health recommendations that you should take into account in order to get to the cathedral without health problems. The choice between the Camino Francs, the Primitivo or the Portugus I leave it to you, the advice is my responsibility. Good way!.
Physical preparation prior to departure
To be able to complete several stages of the Camino de Santiago it is not necessary to be an Olympic athlete, but it is highly recommended to have a certain physical preparation. If you jump from the sofa to the road, I am afraid to get to the cathedral by taxi. We must be used to walking, at a not very high pace, but doing it for hours. Ideally, to avoid musculoskeletal problems would be for this preparation to begin one or two months before starting the journey. An adaptation that not only focuses on the lower extremities, but also on performing exercises to strengthen our back.
The choice of footwear is essential
Forget to buy a new pair of boots the day before you start the journey, it is a mistake to pay dearly from the first day. If you don’t have and need to buy one, check them out in those prep weeks before heading out.
We should wear a shoe that we are used to, that is rigid soled and at the same time supports the foot well, but without it being tight.
The backpack and its layout
The backpack must have good, ergonomic, padded and adjustable shoulder straps; as well as adjustable chest and waist belts that help distribute loads well. Approximately 20% of the weight of the backpack should go on the shoulders and the remaining 80% on the waist straps. In addition, its weight should not exceed 10% of our body weight.
As important as choosing a good backpack is then distribute the elements inside. The heaviest objects should be attached to our back and in the middle of the backpack, and we will leave the lightest for the lower, upper and outer parts. The sleeping bag, a classic, go down completely.
Telescopic poles yes no?
They will hardly add weight to your backpack because they are so light, and they will get thereuse up to 25% of the effort to walk. In the descents they will greatly reduce the impact on the knees and in the ascents you can take advantage of them to pull with the upper body and make them more bearable.
Watch out for the sun
It’s Galicia, but it doesn’t always rain (a Galician from Lugo tells him so). The weather is quite changeable and it may rain one day despite being summer, but we must not forget elements that help us in the photoprotection and photoevitation. We are going to spend 8 or 10 hours in the fresh air, so a hat, sunglasses and high protection sunscreen are essential.
Stretch, stretch and stretch
One of the keys to successfully reaching Santiago de Compostela is muscle stretching. At the end of each stage and after a good shower, we must dedicate a few minutes to stretch all our muscles well. You may be lazy and prefer to lie down to rest, but it is something essential. Look for a good stretching chart that focuses primarily on your legs, lower back, shoulders, and neck.
Blisters The great feared!
It is true that it is almost impossible to avoid their appearance (pressure, friction and humidity are almost inevitable and their great allies), but having your feet well hydrated and free of corns or calluses, short nails and wearing cotton socks that are tight to the foot will help you avoid them.
As soon as they finish their daily stage: hygiene, drying and hydration. In addition to changing the boots for flip-flops to avoid moisture as much as possible.
Do I have a medicine cabinet?
It is highly recommended, but take only the essentials since along the way you will find small pharmacies.
Some analgesic and anti-inflammatory pills can come in handy for that day that the stage was a bit harder, as well as material for small wounds and abrasions: antiseptic, gauze, tape, dressings for blisters … Do not forget a mosquito repellent, masks, hydroalcoholic gel and a cream against muscle pain that can be of great help.
And with the coronavirus, what?
As much as the Apostle Santiago protects the pilgrims, the risk of getting infected exists as in any other place and therefore you must maintain certain precautions.
As we have already seen, spending many hours walking in the open air where the risk of contagion is minimal, but despite this, you should always maintain a minimum distance of one and a half meters with other pilgrims. When this is not possible, you will have to protect yourself with a approved mask.