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Fitness Wearables

jirit

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
I wear a fitbit in my daily life and on the Camino. Not particularly for training purposes, I just enjoy having the data that it provides.
 
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evanlow

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
After 11 Caminos, want to Ruta de la Lana next...
On Mi Band 5 now but I used a Fitbit Charge 3 for my Camino Mosel in Germany back in 2019.

What struck me was the data I got for Camino daily.
1. Around 23k-41k steps (17-32 km)
2. With the 1.8k-3.1 thousand calories (excluding the basal metabolic calories)
3. With the Fitbit barometer sensor I also got over 300 floors on the day I did the 32km (Mosel Camino has many ups and down climbs as it does not follow the winding river most of the time.

Finally, I managed to use the connected GPS with the Fitbit phone app to record my daily walk.
That takes a bit of battery life on the phone but since my phone has a big 5000 MaH battery it was okay and only down to 35-40 percent at the end of the daily walk. Nice also to have a map of the route actually walked.

*I just checked the Fitbit dashboard and the Map details seem to be gone while the other data are still there. I guess I should capture an image the next time I use this.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I requested and received a training watch for my birthday last year. I wore it for a couple of days and decided I didn't like it. That surprised me a little, as I generally like counting my km, and organizing data! Maybe I just needed to get used to wearing a watch, after years of not wearing one, but I also sensed that I would go overboard if I got used to this device!

I am quite satisfied with the more specific function of my phone's tracking app to tell me how far I walk each day. For other data, e.g. hours of sleep, I found that it interfered with my sleep while it tracked!

The wearable device that did enhance my training was bone conduction headphones. I look forward to the podcasts and audiobooks so much that I walk more.
 

dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
I have been using Garmins since 2020, both for various endurance events and for the last 114 km of the Camino Francés in July 2021. More reliable than the free Fitbit/Endomondo app on my phone, and I wanted a watch display with a second hand. (I prefer being able to take a manual pulse in emergency situations).

Basically, what do you want?

Step counting is basically reliable unless you're vigorously clapping at a concert ;). Your distance will not be what the books say, so I'd you're going to get stressed out about that, I don't recommend one.

Do you want heart rate? If you choose one with the feature, again, basically reliable, but not for diagnostic purposes.

You want maps? You'll spend more money, and I hope you can read fine print ;)

Bottom line: Figure out why you want one, and what features you want, before you spend a dime. 😉
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm a big fan of having a tracker. I bought a Garmin Approach because I golf a lot and it's good at that (for example, it tells me how many yards to the green before each of my shots).

Now I use it for walking and biking too. It's helpful during training to know how long I've walked and to have maps showing where I've walked. My kids both have Apple Watches, and they like the social aspects of that, they get feedback from their friends after each workout

My Camino starts in 5 weeks, and I haven't decided if I'm going to turn tracking on while I walk or not. It would be cool to have a map of each section I've done, but I don't want to be a prisoner to it.

Battery life is also a consideration. The Gamin I have can last me 4-5 days without a recharge, even if I use the GPS a few hours each day. The Apple Watch of my kids is basically good for one day, I believe. I'm sure devices without GPS will last a long time.

I hope that helps. Buen Camino.

P.S. Yesterday, I did the longest training day that I'll be doing. 21 miles. Fun to see that I took over 51,000 steps yesterday. Hope I don't need to go that far on the Camino, but I'm ready if I have too. Be well!
 

JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
I love my Fitbit Versa2. Does distance, pace , steps and HR. Used it to train and now on Camino. I need to stop pausing the walk function when I stop… I forget to turn it back on. Will now just let the timer keep going when I stop for a break.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I just walk and don't even think about it. I personally did fine for centuries not knowing how many steps I took or exactly how far I walked. Want to walk 10,000 steps I figure at the pace I walk about 5K or 3mph I will get to 10,000 steps in an hour 1/2 or so. It is so much simpler for me this way.
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Somebody asked "what do I want?"

Basically I wanted a device whereby I can record the distance I am walking each day and record my bios (pulse rate, heart rate, pace, stride, etc).

Basically I want quantify my activity and the results: The more and faster I walk, what are the results in terms of heart rate, pace, etc? The assumption is the more active one is, the better the results - but can I record and analyze these results?)

I would like a device that is small, affordable, has good battery life, and can hold up over time.
(I have heard about mixed reviews of Fitbit that seem to fail and fall apart prematurely)

I really do appreciate the comments and suggestions

Thanks
 
Last edited:

EdN

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Portugues (Sept 2022
I have been using a Garmin Instinct for years when I walk, run, hike and bike. It’s easy to use, accurate and reliable using GPS. Not too cheap but you get what you pay for.
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
I might add it has been nearly ten years since I last did a camino (2013).

I am thinking of returning to Spain in 2023 to maybe do another camino.

In the past I would have simply headed off to Spain and started walking (sans device, iphone, etc), with little training and preparation. On my return to do the Camino Frances in 2011, I was walking 30 km plus days, probably carrying too much, but without a care in the world. It was probably one of most memorable experiences, along with my first camino in 2007 and doing the VF in Italy in 2008.

However about three years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Exercise such as fast walking 3-4 times per week, for an hour, has been shown to work to slow down the progression of Parkinson's symptoms. I try to walk almost everyday, as I have done most of my life.

I wont bore everybody with the details of my condition, but I generally doing quite well - my movement disorder specialist describes my condition as "very mild". The biggest challenge I must deal with is fatigue and walking long distances (>10 km) is tiring for me.

So I if I return to Spain to walk another camino, in some ways it will be like starting anew. It will require some serious training and preparation.

Just hoping to find some fitness devices that may assist.

Thanks
 

CaminoMMXX

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2022
I use an Apple Watch and the Fitness workout app for my pre Camino workouts and during the Camino Frances tracking. Everything worked great!

Attached is my stats and map for my 1st day on the Camino Frances crossing the Pyrenees starting from St. Jean Pied de Port.

#AppleWatch
 

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nancy frens

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2022
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
I have an Apple Watch. I use it because it tracks my heart rate and will do an ekg…not officially of course but helpful. That said I used a Fitbit watch for several years and loved it. I mostly like the info as well, and when not walking the Camino it keeps me moving at home. The picture is my watch face after our first day on the Camino, St Jean to Roncevalles.

A679AF6D-66EA-40F7-81C1-4AC03EC24F0C.jpeg
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013
Somebody asked "what do I want?"

Basically I wanted a device whereby I can record the distance I am walking each day and record my bios (pulse rate, heart rate, pace, stride, etc).

Basically I want quantify my activity and the results: The more and faster I walk, what are the results in terms of heart rate, pace, etc? The assumption is the more active one is, the better the results - but can I record and analyze these results?)

I would like a device that is small, affordable, has good battery life, and can hold up over time.
(I have heard about mixed reviews of Fitbit that seem to fail and fall apart prematurely)

I really do appreciate the comments and suggestions

Thanks
Fitbit just check models to see it has the features you want. The smaller models have great battery life but not as many bells & whistles. I love my Fitbit Sense it has all the premium tracking features but battery doesn't last as long. Fitbit has some good deals in July.

Good luck & Buen Camino.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
It seems I'm a luddite. My idea of walking a Caminos is to be as 'unplugged' as possible.
I have completed 5 "Oxfam trailwalks", (an event based on Gurkha training missions) which are 100km all terrain walks over 24-36 hour period. They are done in a team of 4, and because they are all-terrain, through day and night, dealing with portaloos in the dark, extreme weather, mud, and bush-whacking, and tides , I could never see the point.
However my 3 teammates who were way more obsessed (and much younger) did wear them.
I was always intrigued by the inaccuracy. 3 people wearing different devices, had 3 different sets of data. They flattened in the worst possible places, and we constantly walked in and out of data reach. (that part freaked out our supporters team, who got concerned over radio silence).
I kept out of their constant tech conversations, and just concentrated on walking. We got there regardless of technology.
We dealt with plenty of medical issues over the 5 events, falls, scrapes, vertigo, vomiting and diarrhea, injuries, etc - none of which were helped in the slightest by technology. As all 4 people have to walk together as a whole team, when one team member has a health issue, the others have to pick up the slack, carry 2 packs etc, and help them through.
None of them had any underlying health issues, and the training for an Oxfam walk is quite intensive, you dont train in km's or steps, you train in hours. I remember us laughing hysterically on a training walk about 1.30am on a Saturday morning as an alarm told us we'd walked our 10,000 steps for the day - and we still had 5 hours to go.
The rest of the team spent $thousands upgrading their wearable technology each time, so they were obviously satisfied they got their money's worth.
 
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Walton

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
We are Garmin watch fans. I use my ancient Garmin Vivofit 3 to keep track of distance and steps. The Garmin app has badge challenges such as 300,000 step goals for the month, etc which motivates me to keep on training until the next Camino. It also records total distance and steps etc for the year and so on.
I also know that for my age, I am in the top 10% of similar age Garmin users worldwide in terms of daily steps and distances.
At 70 years of age, that's something to celebrate because being old and reasonably fit is a privilege.
But it takes work and luck health wise, good genes :) etc and my Garmin is a useful tool for me.
 

dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
Ah, now this makes sense, and you have features you can shop for.

I personally prefer Garmins (using a Capt Marvel now), but if you're already using an Apple phone, then you'll want an Apple tracker. They're kind of expensive for the features, but software compatibility is not to be ignored in your case.

Buen Camino!
 
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Richard Smith

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
I wear a Garmin Instinct Solar, have had other Gramins before but when I walked the camino I left mine at home and took a lightweight digital watch that I didn't need to charge or think about.
Pros - waterproof, comfortable to wear, charge lasts 3 weeks, measures heart rate, GPS, altitude change, very good app/web page showing what you have done, does basic smartwatch things.
Cons - expense, look for sales
What functions do I use -
Heart rate, especially the heart rate zones when I exercise
Exertion minutes per week (I don't worry about steps, 2km walking dog is not same as 2km hike with pack)
Height climbed during exercise
Good record of when/where I exercised, what exercise I did, can see improvements or otherwise
Can see who is phoning/texting me if I don't have my phone in my pocket.

BTW, if you want reviews of fitness watch/wearables have a look at dcrainmaker.com - he is the best
 

Keith H

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
😱
I’ve had an Apple Watch for nearly 6 years now and I love it. I track all of my training on it and I’ve found it to be highly accurate. I like a lot of the other features (messages, weather, timers, media device controls etc) so while it is an expensive option for a ‘fitness tracker’ once I combine The other things and then amortise it out over the years the cost becomes acceptable to me.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
Cheap and cheerful Xiaomi Band 4. The app has been improved and will record steps and convert them to distance, sleep time, pulse and 24 hour average (important to me as I'm on meds to prevent fluctuations), can be used as a phone camera remote and I can set the three alarms I need to remind me to take my meds!
It's light although I've replaced the rubber strap with a flexible chain one (large wrists)
Most importantly I get at least a month's use out of a full charge - the newer M5 only lasts two weeks apparently.
As for GPS, well I have my phone but more importantly I'm standing by a yellow arrow and a sign that says "Santiago 799kms" which is close enough I guess.
 

Dinnie

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
I had a Fitbit Alta which I lost and my children bought me a Garmin Forerunner-35.
At 68 years old, I am not very good with electronics & technology. My son-in-law and daughter, who are hikers, felt that the Garmin F-35 would provide the necessary functions that I needed, simple and easy enough for me to use.
It was Cdn$149 when they bought it and now Cdn$199 on Amazon.

 

Drumbo_hiker

Just walk, don’t rush
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy, Português, Primitivo & Norte
I use a Polar Vantage M and love it. I wear it as my watch and track data more or less daily. It is excellent for tracking my performance when hillwalking and works well on the Camino.
I find the data capture seems to be remarkably accurate in comparison with friends’ devices.
I originally chose it because it was a lot cheaper than a Garmin and will undoubtedly upgrade to another Polar watch at some stage soon.
 
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GregorMc

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances July/Aug 2011
Primitivo July/Aug 2022
I own and use an Apple Watch daily but the limited battery life put me off taking on the Camino. So, I did some Prime Day browsing on Amazon and watched a bunch of YouTube videos (The Quantified Scientist in particular) and invested £24.99 (a quarter of a Fitbit) in an Amazfit Band 5. I’ve been wearing it exclusively for the past 5 days and it’s more than enough to replace my Apple Watch for the Camino. Battery life is way better, and although it’ll rely on my phone for GPS to track the walk that’s not important to me. There’s a bunch of similar trackers available at similar prices. Its relative accuracy, price, functions and battery life swung it for me. YMMV, buen camino!
 

Ste66

Irish pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2x Frances
1x Portugese from Porto (Litoral)
Has anybody used any of the popular fitness wearables, either for training purposes prior to doing their camino, or during their camino ? If so any recommendations?
I use a Garmin forerunner 230 I have used other models over the years, it's a great way to measure the distance, elevation gain,heart rate , calories burned etc, it's just something I've always done to record all my activities as I'm also a keen runner and cyclist but I'm just a data nerd so don't mind me 😬
 

Salash

Road less travelled
Time of past OR future Camino
Senda Litoral Portugal (2019)
Camino Central Portugal (2021)
I had a Mi band 5 which was great for my Camino in 2019. I've now upgraded to Mi 7, as I need to be able to track my blood oxygen levels. But for training, I use the Sportractive app. It gives me a much better range of information & history so I can track improvement.
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
I don't know if it counts as a "fitness wearable" but I just use a watch :)

If you know your pace then a watch is generally good enough to track distance. I generally do a steady 5km/h so I know 1km is ~12min. If I've got 15km to do thats 3hrs and I wouldn't expect to be out by more than about 10-15 minutes. With an analogue watch and a view of the sun it's also dead easy to work out north and south, rough sunset/sunrise times, etc., as well.

It's also worthwhile knowing how many steps 100m takes in case it's needed for navigation (eg. if you know you have to turn right in 250m you know roughly how many steps that is and if you've done more then you've missed your turn).

The other data a fitness tracker gives depends on how useful you think it is. It might be useful to know how many calories you are burning so you know how much you need to eat. It might be useful to some to track HR and blood pressure. Everyone is different. For me, the other info is interesting but not particularly valuable or useful. You know your condition better than anyone.

Purely in terms of navigation and distance tracking, a simple watch (or clock on your phone), is hard to beat. The Caminos aren't the most challenging from a land-nav point of view so I have never bothered with GPS other than having a GPS app on my phone just in case (which I've never used yet). I suppose there is no downside to a fitness tracker vs a watch, but if it's something else to charge then forget it.

For training, if you've got weight loss or exercise goals then there's evidence they're useful. But again, once you've got a baseline then it's not that useful. Sometimes I track my calorie intake but after a week I know what I'm eating and I know if I'm above or below my target without tracking it. Same with exercise, once I know I've hit a target then it's easy to repeat without a tracker.
 

Sus1

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 Camino Frances SJPDP to Burgos
I'm a big fan of having a tracker. I bought a Garmin Approach because I golf a lot and it's good at that (for example, it tells me how many yards to the green before each of my shots).

Now I use it for walking and biking too. It's helpful during training to know how long I've walked and to have maps showing where I've walked. My kids both have Apple Watches, and they like the social aspects of that, they get feedback from their friends after each workout

My Camino starts in 5 weeks, and I haven't decided if I'm going to turn tracking on while I walk or not. It would be cool to have a map of each section I've done, but I don't want to be a prisoner to it.

Battery life is also a consideration. The Gamin I have can last me 4-5 days without a recharge, even if I use the GPS a few hours each day. The Apple Watch of my kids is basically good for one day, I believe. I'm sure devices without GPS will last a long time.

I hope that helps. Buen Camino.

P.S. Yesterday, I did the longest training day that I'll be doing. 21 miles. Fun to see that I took over 51,000 steps yesterday. Hope I don't need to go that far on the Camino, but I'm ready if I have too. Be well!
I will also be taking my Garmin golf watch on my Camino in Sept/Oct. I love it - bought it for golf but now wear it every day as it is so useful and looks good. I’d be interested to see how yours works with GPS turned on and showing the route on a map. Have a great time.
 
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