The words ‘military-inspired’ exercise are enough to instil a sense of fear and dread in most of us.
For me, it brings an immediate sense of panic, envisioning scenes of Tough Mudder-style army crawling, barbed wire and a man with a crew cut yelling non-stop in my ear.
But if this simple exercise activity favoured by the US military is anything to go by, it could actually be doable. And all you need is a backpack and a friend.
Referred to as rucking, the exercise involves walking with a weighted pack on your back and has been practised by soldiers in America since the American revolution. The name comes from “walking with a ruck sack” which is a military term for back pack. (Plus, we don’t think ‘backing’ is quite so catchy.)
This might be the first you’ve heard of rucking, but prepare to hear more: it’s been named as one of the top workout trends of 2015. (Post continues after gallery.)
“A lot of people see walking as a fat loss tool. If you’re overweight it certainly is, but if you’re average (5-10 kilos over) then it’s not as effective,” he says. “The lighter you are, the harder you need to work to get results with working, and as you lose weight, you need to work even harder to lose those next few kilos.”
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, walking with weights can actually help burning three times as many calories as walking without.
“That said, any type of walking is definitely beneficial, particularly for your mind as well as your body. Rucking just takes it that little bit further, and doing it upstairs or up hills will also add another element,” he says.
The good news is that while soldiers would typically walk up to 40 kilometres carrying 90 kilograms on their backs, you don’t have to go to those extremes to reap the rewards and benefits of the exercise, which include improving stamina and relieving back pain.
“With any type of conditioning, it’s important to start cautiously,” Worrall-Thompson advises.