Back in my Army and West Point days, I never thought of marching and carrying a ruck in fitness terms. It was a necessity. What you carried on your back is what you brought into combat. The more you put in, the more you were weighed down. The less you put in, the more you ran the risk of being ill-prepared.
Recently, however, I realized the fitness benefits of rucking for civilians. I started carrying a weighted ruck in preparation for the Shadow West Point March back that happened last week. The March Back coincides with the annual 13-mile march back of the United States Military Academy’s Plebe Class at the conclusion of summer Cadet Basic Training. I and about 15 fellow members of the West Point Society of Central Texas finished the march last week. The March included loaded Rucksacks and the Texas Heat! See the picture below. The Weather Channel even filmed a piece about us! I will let you know when it comes out.
Rucking has many benefits and is my latest fitness obsession. There is even a community of Veterans that go on rucking events. It is called GoRuck and raises money for Veterans dealing with PTSD. I am currently training for the next major event near Austin.
Here are the five major benefits of Rucking:
- Low Impact. Unlike running that puts stress on your joints, rucking is low impact especially if you pack your ruck correctly.
- Burns Calories. It burns 3 times the calories that walking does (even more in Texas heat).
- Carry your Hydration. A ruck provides a convenient compartment to store water and remain hydrate. I fill up the bladder from my Camelback in my ruck. It adds weight and prevents me from passing out int the Texas heat!
- Low Cost. I bought my rucksack for less than 40 dollars on Amazon. There is no need to get a specialized rucksack unless you want to. To weight it down, I just evenly distributed 5 lbs. weights that I already had in pouches.
- Fun and social. I loved marching with fellow members of the Long Grey Line and being out in nature.
Marching with a ruck is not just for the military. Pick up your ruck, lace up your shoes and march back to health!