Weightloss (and health) on the Camino

My profession and the .md domain name notwithstanding, this is not medical advice.

You’ll probably lose weight on the Camino. My record was 2018, a year I ate no breakfast (and did the “first five”) and generally didn’t drink alcohol or eat sweets on the Way: 14 kilograms.

Not everyone will. You will never have to go hungry on the Camino. Please keep this in mind. You’ll have the opportunity to eat every few kilometers, a supermarket or six on every stage, and there are the pilgrim dinners, which offer three course simple meals (often yummy, though) for 5-10€ per person.

Healthwise, however, the Camino is extremely beneficial. If you do not overwork your body (notice warning signs like unduly aching muscles or ligaments), there are many positive outcomes from 900 kilometers of walking. Even if you do not lose weight, you’ll lose fat and build muscle (which are heavier than fat). Your respiratory rate will go down, the ability of your body to utilize the oxygen you inhale will go up.

Your heart will get stronger, but your pulse will probably go down, as your body learns to use the inhaled oxygen better.

A warning: a low blood pressure and high pulse without added exertion may be a warning sign of dehydration. As you have less fluids in your body, your blood volume drops and needs to be pumped faster to still do its job. Drink plenty and carry a pulse measuring watch to get a warning when this happens.

If you are Diabetic on the Camino I wrote a bit about that, too.