Avid exercisers are always looking for new forms of exercise to try. On the other hand, those who don’t exactly love exercise sometimes find motivation by doing something a little different. Whichever camp you fall into, rucking could be just the right exercise for you.
By no means a new activity, rucking is taking off as a mainstream form of exercise that combines cardio and strength-building. Read on to learn what it is and why you should give it a try.
What is Rucking?
Rucking is simply walking, hiking, or running with a heavy ruck, or backpack, on your back. It’s common practice in military training, including special forces. It dates back to the American Revolution. Men’s Health reports that Navy SEALS may ruck up to 25 miles per day, carrying 200 pounds!
You don’t have to be a soldier, or have the body of one, to enjoy rucking. It’s catching on across the country for men and women.
What Are the Benefits?
The website Go Ruck says, “Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character — and builds it, too.” So it covers all the bases. It’s not only a physical challenge, but can build confidence and even provide a social outlet.
We all know cardiovascular exercise benefits your heart and burns calories. But according to Men’s Health, introducing weight into your cardio routine burns three times the calories. It also builds strength and bone density. Working out with weights also speeds metabolism, protects joints, and lowers blood pressure.
What makes rucking ideal is that almost anyone, anywhere can do it. People ruck in the city, the suburbs, the jungle, or the countryside. Ruck around your neighborhood or visit a park. You can even do it while on vacation.
One thing many people enjoy about rucking is they can share the experience with friends. Gather a group together and keep it social or bring your dog. Act as a support network for each other to keep going when things get tough. Healthy social networks boost your health in many ways.
How to Start Rucking
As with any new form of exercise, start slowly. Even if you’re in great shape, new activities target new areas of the body, potentially leading to injury. Likewise, just as with any exercise, make sure you eat a healthy diet, and utilize proper supplements you need to perform your best.
Wear your pack tight and high on your back. Check your posture in a mirror. Starting with poor posture could lead to back and shoulder strain, as opposed to strengthening. Use a small amount of weight, which at first could be just a water bottle. Carry water or a sports drink whenever you go rucking. Make sure the pack is stable on your back when you move around. Warm up with light stretching as you would for any walking or running activity.
Set a time or distance to try your first time out. Measure your heart rate as you go. A fitness tracker comes in handy for measuring your distance and monitoring your vitals.
Take stock of how you feel immediately afterward and the next day. Remember, muscle soreness can take 24 hours or more to set in. Gauge how much you want to increase your rate, pace, or distance next time. The great thing is, you can adjust any or all of those factors to find the ideal workout.
Ruck to the Next Level
Rucking aficionados now use rucks in all kinds of exercise for added benefit. Take breaks during a walk or run to incorporate moves like lunges, push-ups and more. A complete ruck workout is offered by Go Ruck.
If you discover rucking works for you, go for it. Everyone needs to find the exercise program that’s right for their body. Rucking might just be the thing you’ve been looking for!
Please be sure to follow your doctor’s advice before starting any exercise program.
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