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What Is Rucking & What Are The Health Benefits?

Posted by Luke Green

Getting outdoors and trying new activities is something we love to do here at Red Original. One activity that is new on our radar is rucking. Now, you may be wondering what is rucking? Well, let us explain… rucking is simply walking with weight in a large backpack. It requires strength and endurance, which makes it great cardio for those who hate cardio. If you want to burn up to 3 times as many calories as walking, ruck instead.

Anyone who has ever been in the military or done military fitness training will be familiar with rucking (also known as ‘Tabbing’ or ‘Yomping’), and what makes it perfect as an outdoor activity for adults is that it’s easy to do and easy to scale. The weight adds resistance training to your back and shoulders, your glutes and legs with every step - resulting in strength gains without the bulk. Want more? Up the weight, increase the distance, or go faster.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Rucking?

Now we know - what rucking is it's time to discuss the health benefits of it. While rucking will feel fairly easy while you’re doing it, don’t be deceived. Taking a stroll with a weighted backpack imparts a lot of benefits to body, mind, and spirit…

1. Rucking Is Less Stressful On The Body Than Running

A major difference between rucking and running, besides the addition of weight, is that rucking one foot always touches the ground, just like in walking.  This is not the case in running.

When running, there is a period when both feet aren’t touching the ground, and an instant when you impact the ground, sending pressure through your legs which are absorbed by the knees. In rucking, like walking, one foot is always in contact with the ground as you shift your weight forward. This subtle difference places less impact on your knees when rucking and the right footwear can reduce the level of impact even further.

2. Rucking Is Good For Your Heart

Rucking elevates your heart rate compared to regular walking, therefore it counts as cardio, and has an effect on your heart that’s comparable to jogging. Rucking also improves your all-around work capacity and endurance. Gaining the ability to cover ground under load builds a strong foundation of fitness.

3. Rucking Burns Almost As Many Calories As Running

Rucking is an excellent outdoor cardio workout if you hate to run, but still want to get the caloric burn that comes with running. In fact, you can burn about as many calories rucking as jogging. Research shows you can burn around 40-50% more calories than walking.

4. Rucking Improves Posture 

For those who work from home or in an office, sitting at a desk all day every day isn’t doing you any favours. Fortunately, rucking is a great way to improve posture. The weight of the backpack actually pulls your shoulders and back into proper alignment and puts your body into the proper posture. As you ruck more and more, you’ll be training your body to stay in that optimal position even when you’re not rucking.

5. Rucking Is A Great Way To Socialise 

Socialising is really important for your mental wellbeing and mixing socialising and rucking as exercise is a great way to do both. With rucking, you get the bonding benefit of moving together in a group, along with the ability to talk without gasping. 

Hopefully, you’re no longer wondering “what is rucking?” anymore and are eager to give it ago. We think it’s a great exercise and is perfect for those who are looking for a way to challenge themselves. That said, it’s also great for people who are just starting out on their fitness journey, as the weight can start out low and be incrementally increased as fitness and stamina improves.