What the Ruck?
How to tire yourself out with just a backpack and some weights
My favorite way to sleep well is to tire myself out with exercise. It has to be hard, though. Just going for a walk won’t do it. So instead I walk an hour with 25 pounds of weights in a backpack — referred to as “rucking.” Friends put me on to this habit during the pandemic, and I have continued four or five times a week on my own.
I love rucking because:
It gets me outside for an hour without any driving.
It raises my heart rate without hurting my joints.
It fatigues my muscles (but not painfully).
It exposes me to daylight and fresh air (part of what makes me tired).
It gives me a chance to listen to music and look at yards and gardens.
How to ruck? Put a dumbbell or two in your day pack, or a brick or two, or bottles of water, or a bag of potting soil — whatever’s lying around. Cinch the shoulder straps part way. Fasten and cinch the hip strap and chest strap if you have them — that should take most of the stress off your shoulders. Go out and walk for 30 to 60 minutes, and see how you feel.
I love the all-over fatigue I get from rucking. I can now walk for more than an hour (and enjoy it) carrying 20 or 25 pounds. I know I’ll be sleepy when it’s time to go to sleep, and if I wake up during the night, I’m relaxed enough that I don’t stay awake for long. And, because the range of motion of walking is not very great (unlike deep squats or lunges, say), I don’t get very sore.
[Can we get a RUCK YEAH?? — Ed.]