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What is Rucking: A Beginner’s Guide

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Hobbies

Well, it’s not terribly exciting or sexy on its own, but it is interesting, good for you and it would be hard to find an easier exercise with the same health and mental benefits. Well, easy might not be the right word, depending on how far you’re willing to take it—literally. 

Rucking is something you’ve probably done your whole life—whether it you’ve traveled, carried books to school or even put groceries in backpack. Rucking is simply the act of putting weight on your back and carrying it around. It’s one of the least complex human actions with some hugely beneficial consequences.  

Again, It’s Simple 

Put some weight in a pack and walk around with it. It requires a minimal amount of equipment and materials to accomplish your goal. Packs range drastically, but to get one that will do the job and do it well, you’re looking at spending around $30. You can go higher, and there is some incredibly well-built gear with plate carriers and all that, but a couple cheap bags of sand or some concrete paving blocks work just as well.  

One word of advice, get a pack with a belt clip. It takes weight off your shoulders and places an anchor at a lower center of gravity, which aids in stability and, quite frankly, comfort.  

Also, start slow. Figure out a percentage of your body weight that provides resistance but will not result in failure, because remember, whatever you carry to a destination, you must carry back.  

Best of Both Worlds 

Exercise tends to fall into one of two categories.  

Strength training—which uses resistance to tear and grow our muscle fibers. It also promotes higher bone density—so that’s fun. We pick stuff up. 

Then we have cardio—or endurance training—elevating your heart rate for an extended period above resting levels, resulting in greater heart health, oxygen intake efficiency, and reduced body mass. We move around.  

Rucking has the benefit of being both. By actively carrying a significant amount of weight while walking or jogging, you are engaging multiple muscle groups at once while maintaining an elevated heart rate.  

Burning Off the Extra 

Rucking also can burn up to three times the number of calories compared to standard walking, running and functional exercise. This is, of course, a matter of scale—how much you are carrying and how fast you are going—but adding a little bit of weight in a pack or a weight vest can be a game changer.  


We all probably got told by our parents that we spent too much time inside—and that’s when we only had a TV; then it was the PC, the laptop, the tablet … and now there are more phones in America than there are people. Screen time has become our sunset and sundown. 

Now, don’t get me wrong—I love screens too, but studies show that at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight in the morning—not through a window—increases cortisol levels, positively impacting your immune response, metabolism and overall mental wellness throughout the day. In short, as the kids say, the sun slaps! Maybe they don’t say that, but it is true, and rucking in the morning or at any point in the daylight will have added health benefits—such as the production of vitamin D, which is an essential hormone that most Americans are deficient in and is responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate, and for many other biological effects, including bolstering the immune system. 

So, get outside in the sunlight and carry something while you do it. It’s good for you.  

What’s in Your Head? Your Head … 

Exercise is incredibly mentally beneficial for the mind, but its effects on the mind are undeniable. Chemically, exertion results in the release of endorphins. Translated—you do hard things, and it makes you feel good. The Mayo Clinic has found that consistent exercise can be just as effective in most cases at reducing depression and anxiety as anti-depressants and other chemical roads to stability and functionality.  

Rucking provides the distraction plus the gain in confidence that comes with a more physically able body, along with potential social interaction with like-minded people on a health and wellness journey like your own. Plus, walking around for an hour or two a day gives you time to listen to a podcast you like or listen to that audiobook you never had time to read.  


Rucking is a low investment exercise regimen with a lot of potential dividends if you just do it. It’s a simple addition to your routine that accomplishes a lot of things one step at a time. At Missouri Men’s Health, we provide the knowledge, resources and products you need to continue a full and active life beyond what you might think is possible. Reach out and discover what we can do for you. 

Start your path back to optimal performance today.
Call (573) 334-1341 or visit our clinic.