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  • Writer's pictureMatt Crowe

“Ruck It”

Why ‘Rucking’ is my new favourite longevity exercise!

Rucking - aka walking over varied terrain carrying a backback with weight in it!

I have preached for years that

A) Walking is good but not enough for optimal health

B) Strength training is essential for optimal health

Welcome to Rucking - “Build strength and improve endurance: two birds, one stone.”

Time to go back to our evolutionary roots and create robust functional strength & cardiovascular endurance by carrying weight across distance. It use to be carrying ‘kills’ back to the tribe or dragging logs & rocks to build shelter. Now it is as simple as putting some weight in a ‘ruck sack’ (what Australians know as a backback), getting outdoors and walking!

Benefits of Rucking

  1. Live longer & live better!

  • Both cardio and strength are essential for living a longer, healthier life

  • “Rucking is strength and cardio in one,”. It’s basically the ultimate metabolic workout helping you shed fat, get fit and build muscle at the same time. The net result is a healthier more capable life for longer!

  1. It builds functional strength & muscle!

  • Loading your back with a heavy pack transforms an ordinary walk into a strength exercise—working everything from your shoulders, back & legs to your core, glutes & feet as an integrated system. This, in turn, improves your functional fitness or your ability to complete daily activities with ease.

  • Since rucking strengthens your hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and shins unilaterally (or one side at a time), it’s the perfect low-impact cross-training workout for runners or cyclists to minimise risk of injuries.

  1. It boosts cardiovascular fitness

  • Rucking hits the two main variables required for optimal cardiovascular fitness.

  • Keep it constant on flat terrain for a ‘zone 2’ constant heart rate workout.

  • Take to the hills & stairs for some serious interval training to increase your Vo2max (your maximum aerobic function).

  1. It torches calories and burns fat

  • For the average guy, a 30-minute walk burns around 125 calories. Throw a weighted backpack on and that same walk rakes in 325 calories.

  • It definitely depends on the weight you’re carrying and how fast you’re moving but obviously going faster with more weight will burn more calories.

  1. It strengthens bones - This is VERY important!

  • Osteoporosis—a condition that causes bones to become weak and frail—is a huge problem in the western world.

  • Environmental toxins & poor nutrition combined with a distinct lack of strength training have seen osteoporosis levels sky rocket in recent decades.

  • The solution - Weight-bearing exercise that doesn’t need the gym!

  • Rucking creates a stress on muscles and an axial load on your spine and skeletal bone! This is exactly what you need to build bone mass & density!

  1. It can improve your posture and prevent back pain

  • If your day is spent sitting in a hunched forward position, rucking can help.

  • A rucksack naturally pulls your shoulders back—exactly how they should be with proper posture.

  • This, in turn, shifts your spine into a more upright position, which can relieve the pain that accompanies the average desk slouch.

  • Since rucking strengthens your postural muscles, you’ll have better posture when you aren’t rucking, too.

  1. It’s for everyone of all ages & fitness levels!

  • “If you can walk, you can ruck!”

  • 5 year olds to 105 year olds can benefit from rucking!

  • Better yet, it easily slips into the existing moments of your day. Whether you’re walking the dog, taking a work call outside, or cruising around the block after dinner, simply throw on a loaded backpack to immediately upgrade any activity.

  1. It gets you outdoors

  • Let’s face it, most of us work inside all day. If going to the gym feels like a drag, try rucking. It gets you outside, walking in nature. “Rucking is time to unplug, clear your head, and sort through your thoughts,”

  • Many studies have linked spending time outdoors with less stress, better mood, improved immune health and better cognitive function

  1. It’s social - Everyone can Ruck together!

  • Because each person can scale the weight to their fitness level, rucking is great for groups.

  • “If you’re running or cycling with a group of people, you need everyone to be at the same fitness level to get a good workout, but with rucking you can have one person with a heavier pack, another with a lighter pack, or someone without one at all,”

  • Rucking allows you to get whatever you want out of your workout while keeping pace with the pack.

  1. Motor Control - Balance & Mobility

  • If you take rucking to the off road trails, rocks and tracks it instantly becomes an exercise that builds your strength, balance, mobility, agility, coordination and multi dimensional capability! All things that the real world has taken from us!

  • You use muscles you forget you had that are protective for a long capable future of living without assistance!

Tips To Get Started

  1. Use anything - Start with any backpack you have and just throw some weight in it… just start! Textbooks, water bottles, or even bricks or dumbbells wrapped in towels qualify. A towel can help to stabilize and cushion your back from any awkward or uncomfortable shaped items! Though I do recommend a good pair of trail shows or hiking boots if you are going off road! Note: No doubt A good rucking pack will be more comfortable and effective so when ready check out a GoRuck back pack!

  2. Start Light - obviously it depends on your fitness level but I suggest starting with 10% of your body weight and working your way up to a maximum of 30%! You will feel every extra kilogram!

  3. Start with 20-30min and work up to at least 60min! Every minute counts but if you can get in even one x 60min rucking session per week you will do wonders for your strength & endurance!

Good luck…. Now “Go Ruck Yourself!”

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