Although we’re surrounded by cutting-edge fitness technology, innovative equipment and designer diets, it seems that sometimes, it's simple things that suit us best!
An activity dating back hundreds of years has emerged as the latest fitness trend. Grab your rucksack… and get ready to ‘Ruck’!
Rucking, otherwise known as walking with a well-weighted backpack is clearly nothing new. It's tough, not for the faint hearted, but the benefits certainly stack up...
Bring On The Burn
For the average person, a 30-minute walk burns around 125 calories. Throw on a weighty rucksack and take that exact same walk, you’ll burn around 325 calories*. For the regular ‘rucker’ walking three times per week, this equates to over 31,200 extra calories shed over the course of a year. Three times that of a regular afternoon stroll.
Banish The Back Pain
We're a nation of sitters. We spend 8 hours a day at our desks, several hours driving and a significant amount of time on the sofa (well, we wouldn't want to miss out on the Bake Off catch ups!)
All of this sitting down means our bodies get used to this position, and it’s only when we start to flex the back through heavy lifting or stretching that we feel discomfort. Our backs simply aren’t used to being flexed in these ways!
Get that back trained. Rucking will help you to practice holding up your torso, to prevent the back muscles from having to take excessive strain. Less compression on your spine means less distress to the discs, in turn helping to prevent and relieve back pain.
Crank Up The Cardio
Heading out for a ruck, rather than a stroll, adds bags of benefits to your cardio efforts.
“The cardio benefits of rucking are comparable to those gained from other long, slow distance exercises like jogging,” says Jason Hartman, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who trains Special Forces soldiers for the US military.
Not only will it get the blood pumping, the cardio system working harder, but building up your posture will help to make you more resilient to injury.
Easy For All
Whilst the difficulty rating on this one is dependent on the weight you're carrying, it's a great workout for all fitness abilities! Simply load up to a point that you're comfortable with, and walk for as long as you can!
Light On The Pocket
Who doesn’t have an old rucksack lying around? Grab a few tins of beans or a set of mini dumbbells and chuck on your ruck every time you jog the dog or commute to work (unless you’re in the car, because that would just be pointless).
No fancy equipment required. Easy on the pocket and a blast of fresh air in the great outdoors to boot!
Our Top Tips For Rocking The Ruck
- To avoid overkill, don’t head straight for the weight. Opt for a load that’s around 10% of your body weight to begin with.
- Feel free to load your bag with whatever you have to hand… dumbbells, tinned food, bottles of water…
- If you have a weight that’s an awkward shape, probably best to choose something else (don't make life hard for yourself!). If you insist on a less than conventional shape, wrap it in a towel to keep it from rolling around in there.
- If you plan to ruck with a heavy load, invest in a rucksack that can handle the weight. Ensure the straps fit properly to your back, and that any weighty loads don’t fall through the bottom of your bag!
- Just walk! That's it in a nutshell. For as long as you like to get used to the extra weight and ease yourself in.
Like any good workout, you’ll feel the effects afterwards, especially on the muscles you may not usually target in the gym. The great news is, that with your newly corrected posture, your rucking efforts will be working on the exact muscles that needed a little work.
*Calories burned are dependent on weight carried.