Rucking isn’t just a messed up auto-correct. It’s the latest fitness craze that is cheap, easy to do and insanely effective. Rucking is very simple – it’s basically walking with a weighted backpack or rucksack. Plus it offers a wide range of benefits for individuals seeking a practical and challenging fitness routine. And yes, it totally counts if your weighted backpack is a baby or a small dog in a carrier – weight is weight and exercise is exercise! 

So if you are looking for a low cost way to boost your workout,  rucking might just be the perfect fit for you.

What is Rucking?

Rucking is pretty straightforward. It involves putting weight in a backpack and walking with it. That’s it! The weight can be anything from a few books to specialized rucking plates designed for this purpose. The term “rucking” comes from “rucksack,” which is another word for a backpack. While it may sound simple, this can be a powerful and versatile workout option.

The Origins of Rucking

Rucking has its origins in military training. Soldiers around the world have long used rucking as a method to build strength, endurance and mental toughness. Carrying heavy loads over long distances helps prepare soldiers for the physical demands of the battlefield. This practical application makes it a valuable fitness concept for civilians too.

Benefits of Rucking

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Health: It is an excellent cardiovascular workout. Walking with extra weight increases your heart rate, leading to improved cardiovascular health and better endurance. It’s a low-impact exercise, making it accessible to people of all fitness levels.
  2. Strength and Muscle Building: Rucking engages multiple muscle groups, including your legs, core and upper body. This can help you build strength and lean muscle over time. The uneven distribution of weight in a backpack also forces your stabilizer muscles to work harder.
  3. Burn Calories: If weight loss is your goal, this is a great calorie-burning activity. The added resistance of the backpack increases the energy expended during your walk, helping you shed unwanted pounds.
  4. Mental Toughness: Rucking is as much a mental exercise as it is physical. Carrying a heavy load can be challenging, but it builds mental resilience and determination, skills that can be applied to various aspects of life.
  5. Budget-friendly: Unlike many fitness trends that require expensive equipment or gym memberships, this is cost effective. All you need is a backpack, some weight and comfortable walking shoes.

Getting Started with Rucking

  1. Choose Your Gear: To start, you’ll need a sturdy backpack. Choose one with adjustable straps and a comfortable fit. You can use everyday items like water bottles or books as your initial weight, or invest in specialized rucking plates.
  2. Start Slow: Begin with a manageable weight – around 10-20 pounds is a good starting point for most people. Gradually increase the weight and distance as you get more comfortable with the exercise.
  3. Proper Form: Maintain good posture while rucking to prevent injury. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and walk at a comfortable pace. Remember to engage your core muscles.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Rucking can be intense, so it’s essential to stay well-hydrated during your workouts. Bring water with you, especially on hot days.
  5. Variety: Keep your rucking routine interesting by changing your route, the weight or even incorporating interval training into your walks.

A Great Workout for a Busy Parent 

If you find yourself strolling your kid all over the neighborhood for a moment of peace or to mental clarity, try adding some weight to it. It will allow you to super boost your workout without over complicating it. This doesn’t have to be done on long mountain hikes. A simple 15-minute walk in your neighborhood can bring immense additional gains to your health, wellbeing, and mental state. Just don’t try to over complicate it by staying on your phone the entire time. Give yourself a digital detox to really benefit from the walk/ruck. 

Check out this great 30 day rucking recap in Outdoor Magazine to get yourself pumped up to give it a try.

Don’t Overthink It

Rucking is a fitness trend that combines simplicity and effectiveness. It’s an excellent option for those looking to improve cardiovascular health, build strength, and develop mental toughness without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just getting started on your health journey, rucking is worth considering as a versatile and accessible workout routine. So, grab your backpack, load it up and start walking your way to a healthier you!

If you are in need of any extra encouragement, then here are three ways exercise improves your skin which basically means rucking is free (or extremely cheap) skin care.