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The weight-loss workout that burns 1,500 calories per hour – that anyone can try

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Rucking, otherwise known as “weighted walking”, is an exercise growing in popularity among the time poor. “Strapping on a rucksack turns your daily commute, dash across town or lunchtime stroll into an effective workout session,” explains Farren Morgan, a former Queens Guard, Kings Guard, paratrooper, personal trainer in the British army and the founder of and current coach at The Tactical Athlete

As well as eliminating the cost of a gym membership and expensive equipment bar a durable rucksack, it’s also helping you to hit your recommended target of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. 

In fact, this type of weighted walking gives you more bang for your energy-expenditure buck. Scientists estimate that the added weight increases the amount of energy needed to move at the same pace you would minus the load. 

“Rucking allows soldiers to acclimatise their bodies to the rigours of combat operations, developing the strength, endurance, and mental resilience necessary to perform effectively and carry heavy loads in challenging environments,” Farren explained.

While recently #rucking has amassed over 19.3 million views on TikTok, it’s not a new phenomenon. Anthropological studies of our human ancestors suggest that loaded walking is a physical activity that modern humans evolved to excel at.

Tread lightly to avoid injury. “Familiarising yourself with the right equipment, terrain, nutrition and hydration is key,” Morgan advises. “Start with a manageable weight [see our guide below] and increase gradually as you acclimatise.”

Three ways to begin your rucking journey

“Good posture is key,” says Morgan. “Stand tall, keep your shoulders relaxed, and your core engaged, with a walking roll from heel to toe or light midsole strike for running.”

Syncing your arm swing to the opposite leg stride and breath can encourage both good gait rhythm and posture, he notes. “Add speed intervals, inclines, or longer strides  if conversation is easy, pace feels maintainable, or your heart rate measures low on tech. However if you’re breathless, experiencing pain, or losing form, dial it back.”

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