Counting Steps – Fitbit Data From My Camino
Last year I followed the Camino Portugués from Porto (Oporto) to Santiago de Compostela, keeping detailed logs of my steps during the days. Using the Fitbit Flex that I talked about in a previous post here, we can see the typical walking pattern during a pilgrims day: when they wake, take breaks, socialise in the evenings and go to sleep. I have compared this with general patterns from my normal working life to show how much further you can expect to walk! A calorific count from a busy day also gives you an idea of how much you should prepare to eat to give your body the energy it needs.
Daily life in London…
Health experts recommend that we walk 10,000 steps every day. I am not a particularly active person, but as I don’t have a car in London and just rely on public transport I just about manage to meet my weekly target. In the chart above, the weekend of 3rd and 4th August that has almost 20,000 steps per day had lovely weather, which I decided to make the most of by wandering aimlessly through the streets and museums.
Above is the step data from a typical weekday in the office. I walk a little in the mornings to get into work for 9, then around midday as I go out to get lunch. Finishing work around 5.30pm I walk home, then go out later to do shopping, meet friends or some other activities. All in all in an average weekday I’d walk between 6,500 and 10,000 steps depending on the evening activity.
…Compared with the Camino
The journey from Porto to Santiago de Compostela takes just under 2 weeks, which you can see in the chart above. Most days are 30,000 to 50,000 steps which is between 3 and 7 times what I might expect to walk on a weekday at work. Of note, is Saturday 31st August where I rested from an ankle injury the day before – I will come back to this in more detail later.
Above is the day before I began The Way. I woke up early, around 7am, to try to get my body in the rhythm for the early morning starts in the albergues. I walked a little around Porto to explore, but came back to the hostel early in the evening and had an early night.
Finally, it begins! Waking around 6am on the first day in my hostel, I wandered slowly around the city centre trying to find the first markers. Some young local guys, who it appeared were still partying from the night before, gave me miss-directions which wasted some time – in hindsight it should have been obvious to get a second opinion on their advice! Eager and pepped up from the built up excitement I walked consistently throughout the morning barely stopping for snacks. Taking the odd break and walking at a pace of around 6000 steps per hour I made it to the first albergue by midday. Overall this day I walked 33,600 steps, or 26.6km/ 16.5 miles.
The chart above is my second day’s walk. I woke later than expected, closer to 7am, and eventually got going shortly about 45 minutes later. My pace was not quite as intensive as the first day, but I continued walking until the early afternoon so clocked up 4,000 more steps at 37,300 in total.
The Full Story
The charts below are a more detailed look at my daily data over the 2 week journey.
Steps, week 2:
Distance in km, week 2:
On Friday of the first week I started with an ankle injury. My ankle was really swollen and I had an intense pain walking on it. Even so, I persevered through the pain and still managed 29,500 steps during the day:
You can see above that due to the injury my average pace was closer to 4000 steps per hour than the 6000 per hour on my first couple of days walking. After midday I just couldn’t walk any further, so decided to take some rest to recover. The following day I stayed in the same village:
I barely walked at all until after midday, when I just explored the ancient town at a really slow pace. I went back to bed and rested during the afternoon, and fortunately over this short stay my ankle had time to recover. Looking back, it is surprising that I still walked 10,150 steps on my ‘rest day’ – but in comparison to the others I felt like I was almost bedridden!
My Best Day – 46,800 Steps/ 37km
In the second week I had reached a good rhythm, was feeling a lot fitter and walking more consistently between breaks. It’s not surprising that my strongest day at 46,800 steps was in the second week:
As you can see above, by now I was waking earlier, around 5 – 5.30am, and when in full swing walking over 6000 steps per hour. I had met a great bunch of people by now, so after taking a short nap I was staying out later for a beer and some food until 10 or 11pm.
Here is the same chart again but measured by distance (km) rather than steps. When measured in distance I walked about 37km/23miles:
Here is another variation but instead showing calories burnt:
At peak walking times I was burning 600 calories an hour compared to around 80 if I was inactive. Overall I burnt 6055 calories that day, which gives you an idea of what you should expect to consume! For breaks I packed small items rich in calories and nutrients such as nuts, berries and chocolate.