Get fit with rucking. Rucking, a fitness trend gaining momentum, involves walking with weight on your back. This simple and effective exercise is a great way to improve your cardiovascular and muscular health while torching calories. The term “rucking” stems from “ruck marching,” a fundamental skill in military training.
Low-Impact, Full-Body Exercise
Rucking offers a low-impact workout that engages your entire body, enhancing both cardiovascular and muscular fitness. Weighted walking and resistance training have been shown to improve physical performance and reduce perceived exertion. Moreover, this exercise can improve lower-limb muscle power and functional ability, potentially prolonging independence among older adults.
Burn More Calories
Rucking isn’t just effective; it’s efficient in burning calories. Walking with weight increases calorie expenditure by 30% to 45% compared to regular walking. For instance, a 180-pound individual carrying 35 pounds while walking at a 15-minute mile pace for 3.7 miles burns around 680 calories.
Mental Health Benefits
Rucking is often done outdoors, providing additional mental health benefits. Studies highlight the positive impact of natural environments on mental well-being, making rucking an excellent way to exercise and boost your mood.
How to Get Started
If you’re new to rucking, it’s essential to start slowly to avoid injury. Begin with an empty backpack and walk a distance you’re already comfortable with. When adding weight, start with about 10% of your body weight. Gradually increase the load to minimize stress on your joints.
Choose the Right Gear
When selecting your gear, opt for a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps. Avoid using string bags, as they may not handle the added weight well. A waist strap is crucial to minimize movement and distribute weight evenly. Ensure that the load is centered near your shoulder blades, not at the lower back, to prevent discomfort.
Use the Right Weight
To load your backpack, choose a bag of sand or a specially designed fitness sandbag, as these molds to your back and offer better comfort compared to hard, sharp objects. If you prefer an all-in-one solution, invest in a rucksack designed for this purpose, which may come with weighted plates or sandbags and additional pockets for weight distribution.
Protect Your Feet
Don’t forget proper footwear. Select comfortable shoes and moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters and ensure a comfortable rucking experience.
Incorporate rucking into your fitness routine and enjoy a full-body, low-impact workout that helps burn calories and enhances both physical and mental health.