Rucking, also known as backpacking with weight, is a low-impact exercise that has gained popularity in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve overall fitness. It is a great alternative to traditional cardio exercises like running or cycling, especially for people who are looking to challenge themselves in a different way.
In this article, we will explore what rucking is, how it can help you lose weight, and provide tips to get started.
What is Rucking?
Rucking is a simple and straightforward exercise that involves carrying a weighted backpack (here’s our favorites) and walking for a set distance or time. The weight in the backpack serves as resistance, making the exercise more challenging and increasing the calorie burn.
Rucking is an excellent full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, and upper body, making it a great option for people who want to tone and strengthen their muscles (which we talk about here) while losing weight.
How Does Rucking Help with Weight Loss?
Here are six ways that rucking can help you achieve your weight loss goals:
- Increased calorie burn: Rucking with a backpack that weighs between 10-20% of your body weight is a cardiovascular exercise that can burn an average of 500-1000 calories in just one hour, making it an effective workout for weight loss comparable to running or cycling. (Here are some great weights to use for rucking.)
- Strengthens muscles: Rucking strengthens multiple muscle groups, including the legs, back, and core, which can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories even when you’re not rucking.
- Reduces stress: Stress can lead to weight gain and a sluggish metabolism, but regular exercise like rucking can help reduce stress levels and help create an environment for weight loss.
- Low Impact: Rucking is a low impact exercise that is easy on the joints, making it a great option for people who may have knee or back problems.
- Accessibility: The key to any weight loss exercise program is consistency. Since rucking is a low-cost and easily accessible (it can be done anywhere at any time), it increases the likelihood of being able to “stick with it” longer than other programs.
- Social component: Unlike may other physical activities done for weight loss, rucking can be done in a manner that allows individuals of different fitness levels to participate together. A more fit person can simply add more weight in their ruck in order to maintain a pace appropriate for a less fit person. And, since rucking is done while walking, it allows for a pace adequate for holding a conversation. Rucking with others can also add a level of accontabilibty that can aid in reaching your weight loss goals.
Tips for Getting Started with Rucking
Here are some tips to get started with rucking:
- Invest in a good backpack: A comfortable and well-fitting backpack is crucial for rucking. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and a good weight distribution system to ensure a comfortable and safe rucking experience. We recommend the GORUCK Rucker as the best bag for rucking, but if you’re just getting started, any backpack will do.
- Start with a light weight: Beginners should start with a light weight (5-10 lbs) and gradually increase the weight as their fitness level improves. The GORUCK Weight plates are a great solution for adding weight.
- Find a good trail: Look for a well-maintained trail or park that is safe for rucking. This will ensure a more enjoyable and scenic rucking experience. Of course, you can ruck in urban environments or your neighborhood as well, but getting out in nature has numerous psychological benefits.
- Set realistic goals: Start with short rucking sessions (15-30 minutes) and gradually increase the duration as your fitness level improves.
While these are some tips for getting started, it is important that you consult with a physician before beginning any weight loss or exercise program. If you’re looking for more help getting started, check out our “Training Program for New Ruckers.”
Rucking is a great exercise for weight loss and overall fitness. It is a low-impact, full-body workout that can help you burn calories, build endurance, and tone your muscles. With the right gear, a good trail, and realistic goals, rucking can be a fun and effective way to achieve your weight loss goals.