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Why Rucking Is A Midlife Fitness Gamechanger | CrunchyTales

Lace Up and Load Up: Why Rucking is a Midlife Fitness Gamechanger

3 min read

Rucking is not just an exercise; it’s an empowering experience. It allows you to challenge yourself physically and mentally while reaping numerous health benefits. 

It involves walking with a weighted backpack, a fantastic exercise that is accessible to everyone making it ideal for those midlife women who don’t like running or biking, but want to improve their exercise program, become stronger and lose that stubborn middle spread or simply their are looking to elevate their weekly forest bathing sessions.

The name of this training drill is derived from the army ruck march, a popular military exercise. A key requirement for U.S. Army recruits aiming to become infantrymen is the 12-mile ruck. This challenging march involves carrying a backpack weighing a minimum of 30 lbs and completing it within three hours. 

But, of course, you don’t have to be in the military to go rucking and try it out for yourself. It’s a naturally social activity, allowing you to engage in conversation with your workout buddies while breaking a sweat. 

Whether you’re eager to begin your own rucking adventure or simply interested in learning how it works here is everything you need to get started on the right track.

Why Rucking Rocks for Midlife

Rucking has gained unexpected popularity in the United States, where it is practised in groups and clubs. Whether you prefer the tranquillity of a local park, the challenge of a hiking trail, or the convenience of urban areas, there’s a perfect rucking location out there for you.

Experts recommend beginners aim to carry 3-5% of their body weight using rucking weights for up to 1 mile or 20 minutes (whichever comes first) to fully embrace its super-power. 

The massive benefits of a workout like this are due to the extra weight. According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchwalking with a weighted pack improves strength in muscles all over the body.  Unlike high-impact activities like running, rucking is easier on your joints, minimizing stress on knees, hips, and ankles. This makes it ideal for maintaining bone health, a crucial factor as women age. 

Carrying extra weight also elevates your heart rate, pushing your cardiovascular system and burning more calories compared to regular walking. This translates to improved endurance and overall fitness and by making a few adjustments, rucking can become a family activity, too. Just make sure to avoid crowded and busy streets and rather choose child-friendly routes or trails that have interesting sights along the way.

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How To Get Started With Rucking

Rucking is not so complicated. Invest in a comfortable, well-fitting backpack designed for rucking then join a local rucking group like GoRuckClubs or find a friend to walk with. This adds a fun element and keeps you motivated.

Usually, 45 Minutes of speed march with progression intervals might work. But don’t worry, you will get better with practice. Pushing yourself with a weighted pack will soon be translated into a sense of accomplishment and improved mental well-being.

The beauty of rucking is its scalability. You can adjust the weight, distance, and terrain to fit your fitness level. All you have to do is maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement, engage your core for stability and avoid hunching or rounding your shoulders.

Here are a few tips to get started rucking to ensure you’re safe and have fun along the way. 

  • Start Light
    Begin with a weight that feels comfortable, ideally around 10% of your body weight. Gradually increase weight as your fitness improves.
  • Form Matters
    Pack your backpack strategically, placing heavier items closer to your spine for better balance. The equipment should be well packed so that there are no loose items that could move around thereby disturbing the weight distribution. 
  • Listen to Your Body
    Don’t push yourself too hard, especially in the beginning. Take rest breaks as needed and gradually increase the distance and duration of your rucks. Add weight and distance gradually.

Progression intervals can be challenging to pace correctly because they require you to shift gears frequently. But it’s a fun challenge if you embrace it, and you will get better with practice. 

Don’t forget, the secret to a fruitful rucking session lies not only in the place you choose, but also in having a properly fitting rucksack, suitable shoes, and a positive attitude. Therefore, get your equipment ready and embark on a journey to discover the endless ruck marching opportunities that surround you.

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