5 useful exercises for walkers

Stretching preparation Santiago Ways

5 functional exercises for walkers

To help you on your Camino de Santiago journey, we have teamed up with fitness expert Peter Duffy, The Mindset Explorer, to provide easy and practical exercises for walkers’ next walking adventure.

Basic exercises are great for regular walkers, beginners, and anyone who wants to follow an easy, everyday routine. In the fitness video, we have picked the best exercises you can do daily without any gym machinery.

Preparing in advance for any long-distance walk with exercises, Camino travel advice, and Camino packing tips is always a good idea. You can also use these fitness tips when you are in the middle of your walk. Breathing exercises, in particular, are great for walkers who walk long distances daily.

Peter demonstrates his top 5 exercises in this video, including:

  • Simple Ab workout
  • Squat
  • Back-bridge
  • Step exercises

Let’s dive into these exercises for walkers

Detailing their performance and benefits.

Simple Ab Workout

An effective ab workout targets the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. Here are a few simple exercises that you can include in your ab workout:

  1. Crunches:
  • How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head without pulling on your neck. Lift your upper body towards your knees, exhaling as you go up, and inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Benefits: Strengthens the rectus abdominis and improves core stability.
  1. Plank:
  • How to do it: Start in a push-up position, but rest on your forearms instead of your hands. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for as long as possible while keeping your core tight.
  • Benefits: Engages multiple core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, improving overall core strength and stability.
  1. Bicycle Crunches:
  • How to do it: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs lifted. Bring your right elbow towards your left knee while straightening your right leg, then switch sides.
  • Benefits: Targets the obliques as well as the rectus abdominis.
  1. Leg Raises:
  • How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift your legs towards the ceiling, keeping them straight, and lower them back down without letting them touch the floor.
  • Benefits: Strengthens the lower part of the rectus abdominis and the hip flexors.

Squat

The squat is a fundamental lower-body exercise that targets the thighs, hips, and buttocks. It’s a compound movement, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once.

  • How to do it:
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you for balance or place them behind your head.
  3. Bend your knees and hips to lower your body as if you are sitting back into a chair. Keep your chest up and your back straight.
  4. Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as low as your mobility allows.
  5. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
  • Benefits:
  • Strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
  • Enhances core strength and stability.
  • Improves flexibility and mobility in the hips and ankles.
  • Promotes better posture and functional strength for daily activities.

Back-Bridge

The back-bridge, or glute bridge, is an exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It’s excellent for building posterior chain strength.

  • How to do it:
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  2. Place your arms at your sides with palms facing down.
  3. Lift your hips towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and pushing through your heels.
  4. Hold the position at the top for a moment, then slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position.
  • Benefits:
  • Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
  • Improves core stability and hip mobility.
  • Helps alleviate lower back pain by strengthening the posterior chain.
  • Can enhance athletic performance by improving power and explosiveness.

Step exercises for walkers

Step exercises involve using a raised platform or step to perform various movements that target the lower body, especially the legs and glutes. They can also provide a cardiovascular workout.

  1. Step-Ups:
  • How to do it: Stand in front of a step or platform. Step onto the platform with one foot, then bring the other foot up to stand on the platform. Step back down with the same foot, then the other.
  • Benefits: Strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Improves balance and coordination.
  1. Lateral Step-Overs:
  • How to do it: Stand beside the platform. Step sideways onto the platform with one foot, then bring the other foot to meet it. Step down on the opposite side, leading with the same foot.
  • Benefits: Targets the glutes and inner thighs and improves lateral movement and agility.
  1. Step Jump:
  • How to do it: Stand in front of the platform. Jump onto the platform with both feet, then step back down one foot at a time.
  • Benefits: Provides a cardiovascular workout, improves explosive power, and strengthens the legs and glutes.
  1. Box Jumps:
  • How to do it: Stand in front of a sturdy box or platform. Jump onto the box with both feet, landing softly with knees slightly bent. Step or jump back down.
  • Benefits: Enhances explosive power and coordination, strengthens the lower body muscles, and provides a high-intensity cardio workout.

Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can help build strength, improve mobility, and enhance overall physical performance. Remember to maintain proper form to avoid injury and maximise the benefits of each exercise for walkers.

stretching to prepare. exercises for walkers

Stretching is one of the most important parts of preparation for the Camino. If you don’t stretch, the muscle can tighten and cause pain. Other great tips include eating the right foods, keeping hydrated, and using your arms as you walk.

Stay tuned for our next fitness post with Pete from Physical Therapy Ireland. We have some valuable stretches to keep you agile and light-footed for your journey.

For more information about our walking and cycling tours on the Camino de Santiago routes, don’t hesitate to contact one of our travel specialists.

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