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The Rucking Revolution: A Firsthand Experience of the Fitness Trend

Discovering Strength, Stamina, and Scenery with Every Step

rucking

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If you had told me a year ago that I'd be strapping a weighted backpack to my back and hitting the trails, I'd have laughed it off. But today, rucking has not only become a part of my weekly routine but has also transformed my understanding of fitness. Here’s my journey into the world of rucking.


Why Rucking?


The concept is simple: walk or hike with a weighted backpack. Originating from the military, where soldiers train by marching with heavy packs, rucking combines strength training with cardio. It sounded challenging, but the promise of enhanced fitness benefits drew me in.


rucking vs running

My Rucking Experience


Starting with a 10-pound weight, I took to my local park. At first, the weight was noticeable, challenging my core, shoulders, and legs more than I expected. But with time, the trails became my meditation. The world slowed down, and I became more attuned to my surroundings and the sounds of nature.


As weeks turned into months, my stamina improved. I added more weight and ventured onto tougher trails. Not only was I building muscle, but I also noticed improved posture and core strength. Plus, the camaraderie among fellow ruckers is unparalleled. We motivate each other, push our limits, and share stories of our adventures.


Rucking vs. Running: Which One's For You?


Both rucking and running are excellent cardiovascular exercises, but they cater to different fitness goals and preferences. Let's break down the differences and see which might be a better fit for you.


Intensity and Impact:


Rucking: Rucking, essentially walking or hiking with a weighted backpack, adds resistance to a low-impact exercise. This means you get a more intense workout without the hard impact on your joints that running can entail. The added weight targets not just your legs, but also your core, back, and shoulders.


Running: Running is a high-impact exercise, particularly on hard surfaces. It can burn calories faster due to its intensity. However, this can come at the cost of potential strain on the knees, ankles, and hips, especially if done without proper form or preparation.


Muscle Engagement:


Rucking: Rucking engages a diverse set of muscles. Carrying the weight requires strong engagement from the core, back, and shoulders. Additionally, your legs work harder than in regular walking, especially if you're hiking uphill.


Running: Running predominantly focuses on the lower body, particularly the calves, quads, and glutes. While it does engage the core to some extent, the upper body gets less of a workout compared to rucking.

rucking backpack with weights

Caloric Burn:


Rucking: According to studies, rucking can burn up to 3 times more calories than walking at the same pace due to the added weight. The exact burn rate will vary based on weight, pace, and the weight of the pack.


Running: Running can burn a significant number of calories in a short time. For instance, a person weighing 155 pounds running at 5 mph can burn approximately 298 calories in 30 minutes.


Social and Mental Aspects:


Rucking: Many ruckers appreciate the slower pace which allows for social interaction and a deeper appreciation of the environment. Rucking groups or clubs often form, promoting camaraderie and motivation.


Running: Running can be both solitary and social. Many find solace in a solo run, while others thrive in running groups or in competitive settings like marathons.


Flexibility and Equipment:


Rucking: All you need to start rucking is a backpack and some weight (which can be anything from books to specially designed weight plates). It's flexible in terms of location—you can ruck in urban settings, parks, or trails.


Running: Running requires minimal equipment, with the most significant investment typically being a good pair of running shoes. You can run almost anywhere, from treadmills to trails.



Taking the Leap


If you're seeking a change in your fitness routine, give rucking a shot. It's more than just a workout; it’s an experience. With every step, you challenge yourself, explore new terrains, and create lasting memories. Happy rucking!

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