- Rucking, which involves carrying a weight over a distance, is an excellent exercise for fitness and longevity.
- Carrying has been a key human behavior throughout history, according to one fitness journalist.
- Try it to build muscle, burn fat, improve your heart health and prevent injuries.
One of the hottest trends in fitness doesn’t require a gym or fancy equipment, and almost anyone can try it to get stronger and live longer, whether you’re a 70-year-old grandmother years old or an elite 21 year old. athlete.
Rucking, or carrying a weight for a distance, is an exercise that the human body was designed to help us survive, according to Michael Easter, fitness journalist and best-selling author of the recently published book “”Rarity Brain“.
Practice can help improve cardiovascular fitnessmake our muscles and bones more durable and strengthen our body and back to help us complete the tasks of daily life.
But these days, tools, technology and our changing routines mean that most of us rarely need to carry items more than a few feet from our car to our house.
“We kind of organized our daily life,” Easter told Insider. “I think it’s very important for humans to do it, and we’re doing it less and less.”
Now, rucking refers to carrying weight for fitness purposes, so it’s not quite the same as hiking, he said.
But the weight you carry, as well as how you carry it and the distance and speed you go, can be adjusted, making rucking an exercise accessible to almost everyone, regardless of age or fitness level.
“If you can walk, you can ride,” Easter said.
Rucking is great for longevity
From our earliest ancestors carrying game after a hunting trip or gathering natural resources to populations traveling long distances with their families and belongings, carrying (sometimes heavy) objects is unique to humans and is a fundamental behavior to throughout history, Easter said.
While we may not need to lug a bison home for dinner, there are still good reasons to take the time to rucking, as it involves many types of exercises linked to longevity.
“It’s good for everything, in terms of aging,” Easter said.
First, rucking gets your heart pumping, and aerobic exercise is excellent for cardiovascular healththereby helping to prevent heart disease, which is a major cause of death worldwide.
At the same time, it offers resistance training with cardio to help strengthen muscles and bones. Research suggests that the combination is the key to living longer and healthier. Bone density is important as we age because fractures are a major risk for older adults, research watch.
More importantly, research suggests that rucking poses a low risk of injury. even more than common exercises like running — which means it’s a good option for older or sedentary people who want to improve their fitness without getting injured, according to Easter.
The benefits of rucking include burning fat and building muscle and core strength.
In addition to helping you live longer, rucking can also make you feel and look good.
Easter said it’s a great exercise for burning body fat: the extra weight burns many more calories than walking or running alone.
Rucking also builds muscle, especially in the lower body, but also uses your shoulders, back and core to support the weight.
It can even help with problems like back pain because the act of moving creates a counterbalance that helps balance how the back muscles are activated, Easter said. Rucking also helps strengthen the core which is crucial for a healthy spine.
It’s easy to add rucking to your daily routine
Rucking has long been a foundation of military fitness, as soldiers often must carry heavy equipment long distances, cultivating a love/hate relationship with the exercise within groups like the Navy SEALs.
Since Easter’s previous book, “The Comfort Crisis,” explored the benefits and anthropological context of exercise, rucking has experienced a small renaissance to a wider audience.
“Before, it was just what the military did and it seemed really hardcore and really intimidating,” he said.
You don’t have to be in Special Forces or the CrossFit Games to try rucking. Easter said it’s simple to incorporate it into activities you already do, like walking the dog or take your daily steps.
“You can just add a weighted bag and all of a sudden you get more results with every step,” he said.
How to start rucking
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to rucking is overthinking it, according to Easter.
“People tend to become paralyzed by analysis. You just throw a few things in a backpack, go for a walk and see how you feel,” he said.
You don’t need any special equipment since a regular backpack fits perfectly and you can add weight with household items like books. Using sandbags or water bottles has an added benefit in that you can empty them (or drink the water) to make it easier if necessary. mountaineer Jenn Drummond previously told Insider.
You can also use a weight vest If you have one, or even if you’re carrying a weight in front of you (like a bear clutching a sandbag to your chest), a backpack is probably the most practical.
“It’s more important that you carry weight than how you carry it,” Easter said. “I think for most people, most of the time, it’s best to travel with a backpack.”
Easter said a good starting load is 15 to 30 pounds for most people, but common sense should be used.
“I tell people to take it easy. If you find the weight is too low, you can add more from there,” he said.
Try to keep the weight close to your body so it doesn’t sag behind you, and cover anything with hard edges in a blanket so you don’t get poked in the back, Easter suggested.
A common mistake is leaning too far forward to compensate for weight, which you can avoid by keeping your hips under your torso, former Navy SEAL Michael O’Dowd told Insider.
As for how long and how often you can ruck, that depends on your fitness level. If you’re relatively new to fitness, start with a short walk several times a week. Even just 15 to 30 minutes is a good start. As you progress, the risk of injury is low, even if you do it every day, but giving your body a chance to recover can be helpful, especially in the beginning.
“Eventually you’ll get to a point where you can fight every day. If humans couldn’t carry things every day, we would have died out a long time ago,” Easter said.
WATCH NOW: Popular videos from Insider Inc.