Rucking involves walking with a loaded backpack or rucksack, often used in military training and now embraced by fitness enthusiasts worldwide.
Any consistent walking or hiking can build cardiovascular endurance, but rucking is a low-impact way to increase strength and bone density. The added weight on your back strengthens your legs and trunk while giving you a low-impact cardio session. These benefits increase when you add hills to the mix. Heading uphill with a pack pushes your VO2 max, while going downhill challenges your stability and eccentric muscle control, according to longevity expert Peter Attia.
Benefits of Rucking
Total Body Workout: Rucking is a full-body exercise that engages multiple muscle groups. It's a great way to build strength and endurance simultaneously.
Low Impact: Unlike running, rucking is low-impact, so it's gentler on your joints, making it a more accessible exercise for people of all fitness levels. Rucking can be a safer alternative to high-impact exercises if you have knee or joint issues.
Calorie Burner: The extra weight you carry increases the intensity of your walk, resulting in a higher calorie expenditure compared to regular walking.
Versatility: Rucking is highly adaptable. You can do it in urban environments, parks, or trails. You can do it while pushing a baby stroller.
It’s possible to ruck on a treadmill, but at its heart, the sport is about getting outdoors, which has been tied to improved cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, and sleep.
Getting Started with Rucking
Use a durable, comfortable backpack. Look for one with padded shoulder straps and a chest strap. Keep the weight high up in the rucksack and close to your spine. This setup allows you to support the weight with an upright, healthy posture.
Maintain an upright posture with your shoulders, back, and chest out.Keep your back straight and engage your core for stability.
Start with a manageable weight load, and gradually increase as you get more comfortable. Household items such as water bottles and books work!
Rucking doesn't require expensive equipment or gym memberships. While there are rucking-specific packs with weight plates, they aren’t necessary.
Rucking is an accessible and effective exercise with numerous physical and mental benefits. It's a fantastic way to get outdoors, stay fit, and challenge yourself physically and mentally. So, grab a backpack, load it up, and hit the trail.