The Benefits of Rucking

I’ll admit, you’re going to be able to tell I am a Veteran in this article.  We are here to talk about all the benefits of rucking A.K.A. hiking A.K.A. loaded carrying or as they used to call it in the Corps, going on a hump.  I will save both of us the blushing from using the word “humping” and stick with rucking.

I first started going on backpacking trips when I was 12 years old in the Boy Scouts.  I continue to be an avid backpacker to this day.  I also carried a load or two in the Marine Corps.  I was recently reading “The Comfort Crisis” by Michael Easter.  It it he interviews the Army Vet founder of GoRuck and they discuss this topic.  I was reminded of some benefits I already knew and learned some cool new ones.

Here are some benefits of loading up a pack and putting one foot in front of the other:

1. It’s lower impact than running.  Running is great if you enjoy it and/or if you have a race that you need to be ready for.  If you don’t enjoy it, you can skip running and avoid its high injury rate by rucking instead.  It is much hard to get an overuse injury because walking briskly with a load is lower impact than running.

  1. Weather is no longer a factor. You have a pack.  Put whatever you might need in it.  If you start off wearing some layers and want to shed some, you have the perfect place to stow those unneeded layers.  Your legs still work in the rain and in the cold.
  2. Quiet time outside. We have an innate need for quiet.  Get off the phone, let your eyes rest from the screen, and breath some fresh air.  Speaking of the screens, letting your eyes reset by focusing at things that are far away is good for them.
  3. Flexibility.  You can grab your pack and get moving whenever you want.  Because it’s a mode of transport, it’s easy to integrate it into what you are already doing like an errand, coffee run, or dog walk.
  4. Strength and core benefits. When you break it down, we are talking about a loaded carry.  Your core has to stabilize that load, which is off center, often while you are on one leg.  Get a good hill into the mix and you are definitely going to have improved single leg strength.
  5. Physical and mental toughness. The pack can get heavy, the legs tired, and you’re still a mile or two from being done.  Especially on extended hikes it is common to get to a point where you want to be done more than anything but you have no choice but to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving.  Physical and mental toughness is like a muscle.  You can build it and you’re happy when you have.

For all of these reasons we are going to be incorporating rucking into our New Year Program.  For 4 weeks we are going to focus on increasing our activity and straightening out our nutrition.  I say “we” and “us” because I’ll be doing it too.  No booze, no added sugar, strength train 3x per week and a 60 minute ruck the other days of the week.  It’s going to be a blast!

Serving Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community, we help people finally get in shape, feel confident, and have all day energy, even if getting everything done is a constant struggle.


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