Why rucking is the ideal way of exercising for me

Rucking is walking with a heavy backpack on. It is the perfect combination of strength training and cardio. Additionally, you can do it alone or together outdoors in nature.
Robert Roose
By Robert Roose

Why rucking is the ideal way of exercising for me

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What is rucking?

Rucking is nothing more than going for a walk with a weighted backpack. You can read on many other blogs about how heavy this backpack should be or how long and far you should walk. Here, I want to talk about the benefits of rucking that make it the ideal way of exercising for me.

Mix of strength and cardio

I like being efficient, and in the gym, you have to choose. Do you run on the treadmill for your fitness or do you lift weights to get stronger? With rucking, you combine these two activities. The (sturdy) walking improves your fitness while carrying extra weight helps strengthen different muscle groups.

It is accessible

I don't have to change clothes first, and when I'm done, I (usually) don't have to shower. I can do it whenever I have time because it's just a matter of putting on a backpack and stepping out the door. I don't have to go anywhere or rent a space at a specific time.

When I first started, I used a regular backpack with some weights in it. I had these lying around from a time when I thought I could get fit by lifting weights at home three times a week. But you could also just use a few heavy books. In that sense, you don't need to buy anything special. At some point, I did purchase a better backpack and heavier weights so I wouldn't have to empty my backpack every time I wanted to use it for something else.

It can be done outdoors in nature

Easter, in his book 'The Comfort Crisis', features biologist E. O. Wilson who has developed a theory that it is important for humans to be in nature because that's where we evolved. I also notice that I prefer being in a natural environment.

Additionally, you burn more calories when walking on uneven terrain, like in nature, rather than on a flat sidewalk or paved road, according to a study by scientists at the University of Michigan.

When you move outdoors, unlike when you exercise in a gym, you constantly have to consider your surroundings. You need to be alert for other road users and watch out not to step into a big puddle or dog poop. This mental challenge contributes to sharpening your brain.

You can do it alone or together

Going to the gym together doesn't work. You're constantly using different machines or just chatting with each other, so you don't really get to your training. Most other sports done together are fun but not very social. There's usually no time to talk calmly during sports, like in soccer, tennis, or paddle.

With rucking, this is different. You have enough time (and energy) to have a chat.

Everyone can do it at their own level, meaning you can individually decide how much weight to put in your backpack. Peter Attia mentions in his podcast 'Outlive' that he often goes rucking with his mother (try not to giggle) and she just uses a lighter backpack.

But you can also do it alone with music or a podcast. Or even better: completely alone with your thoughts.

It combines all the above-mentioned things

A few years ago, I went to the gym three times a week in the early morning. Usually, I was one of the first ones sweating it out at 5:30. Thanks to my discipline, I kept it up for eight months, but I hated it. Then I got a little flu. I couldn't go for two weeks, and when I recovered, I thought: Never again!

Rucking is the opposite of working out in a gym. It's efficient and therefore takes less time, it's outdoors in nature, and you can do it at any time of the day without needing to shower again.

Of course, I can always change my mind, but for now, I wouldn't want it any other way.

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