5 Ways to Level Up Your Walk

5 Ways to Level Up Your Walk

Walking is underappreciated as a healthy lifestyle habit. It’s the foundation of human movement—exercise—and you can do it anywhere, in any condition. It’s perfectly versatile: you can walk on sidewalks, at parks, up mountains, and around cities.

If you build a habit of walking, you’ll never lack fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.

That’s wellness.

People who walk multiple days per week (or everyday for some of us) will experience more positive emotion and peace through their days. They’ll smile more.

That’s just the byproduct of plentiful fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.

We believe that humans are made to walk, to move, to be outdoors. That’s why walking is the cornerstone of everything we do here at GORUCK. Well, rucking is the cornerstone of everything we do. But rucking is just walking with weight, right?

Level Up Your Walk

If walking is your primary form of exercise, you might be missing out of some of the benefits of strength training. As we age, our bones and muscles become less dense, our mobility decreases, and our ability to recover from injuries decreases. It’s the move it or lose it idea: if we don’t safely stress our bodies, our bodies become less capable of dealing with stress.

But that doesn’t mean you have to trade your daily walks for a gym membership or personal trainer. In fact, we favor outdoor exercise that keeps you moving forward.

Walking is effective for weight loss, blood sugar regulation, and maintaining positive mental health.

We love walking.

But walking is the least stressful exercise you can do.

So why not level up your walk?

This message is for those who have a healthy walking habit: you can take your walking up a level and reap some of the health benefits of strength training and cardio workouts. That doesn’t change the foundation of your healthy lifestyle. We want you to keep walking. But if you can elevate your daily walk while keeping its principles intact, why wouldn’t you?

5 Ways to Level Up Your Walk

There are 5 simple ways to level up your walk. Walking more, bringing a friend, going off road, exploring your community, and volunteering while you walk are no frills ways to get more out of your walking habit, to take it up a notch. If you're ready to supercharge your walking workout with strength and cardio, click here to jump ahead.

1. Walk more

That’s an easy one. If you stick to the same routine each day (like walking for 30 minutes or 1 hour), just add more. Our bodies are highly adaptable to new stress, and walking is an exercise that has lots of potential. Introduce another long walk per week, or gradually increase each daily walk. Or, start walking every single day, if you don’t already.

There aren’t many exercises humans should do every single day. Running, weightlifting, and playing sports all require some rest and recovery.

Walking, on the other hand, is active recovery. It’s low stress and low impact. It gets our heartrates up just enough to flood our sore muscles with blood and oxygen, which aids recovery.

Most people can safely increase their walking volume (miles or hours walked) by 10% each week until their distance or time goals are met.

2. Bring a friend

All that fresh air, sunshine, and exercise has a lot of benefits. But don’t keep them all to yourself! Bring a friend on your daily walk, setting aside one or two days per week where you invite someone to come along.

Just like exercising outdoors, community and conversation feed our spirits. Humans aren’t meant to be cooped up inside, alone. So invite people to walk with you.

You might help guide someone into their own healthy walking habit, and soon you might have your own walking group.

3. Go off road

Also known as hiking. Go find a local park with dirt trails and surround yourself in nature. Being around trees is good for our mental health, studies have shown. Plus, dirt trails require some extra attention to where you’re stepping. Slow down, pay attention, and breathe the fresh air.

When you go off road, you might want more sturdy shoes, like our Mackall™ all-terrain rucking shoes. These are low-top trail shoes built with maximum support for walking on uneven terrain. You don’t necessarily need a trail shoe to go hiking, but you may want a dedicated pair if you find yourself off road more than once per week.

4. Explore your community

If you have one or two long walks per week, plan ahead to stop at a local coffee shop, bakery, farmers market, or smoothie bar. Setting destinations like these helps us see our communities up close and get to know other people better. After all, you can't have a conversation if you're in your car with your windows rolled up.

If you’re used to driving to your favorite coffee or donut shop on Saturday mornings, walk there instead. Look at all the houses, trees, and people you drive by every Saturday without noticing.

Individuals are what make communities great, and we can remind ourselves of that when we choose to walk to our favorite local destinations, rather than driving.

And guess what? You’ll become known as a guy or gal that walks everywhere, which lets people know how cool you are.

5. Volunteer while walking

Giving back is good for us, and our communities. Two ways to give back while walking are volunteering at dog shelters and cleaning up roadside trash. If you’re a dog lover, this one is a no-brainer. Call around to local shelters and ask if they accept volunteers to walk dogs. They might even work around your schedule, allowing you to visit during your normal walking times.

If you’re more of a cat person, bring a trash bag on your walk around your neighborhood or local park. There are often bottles, cans, and fast food containers along roads in populated areas. We usually don’t notice them unless we’re looking, though. This will require some bending over and carrying a bag, so your walk might feel less meditative than usual, but you’ll feel a new sense of achievement when you see a clean stretch of road that used to be heavily littered.

If walking dogs and cleaning up trash feel out of your comfort zone, that’s a good thing. In this modern, digital world, we all need a bit more discomfort in our lives.

Supercharge Your Walking Workout with Rucking

Rucking is the best way to supercharge your walking workout. Rucking is simply walking with weight on your back. The strength and cardio benefits of rucking are impressive: we call it Active Resistance Training™. Remember move it or lose it? Well, rucking uses all of it, so you won’t lose it.

Rucking engages your legs, your back, and your shoulders. You will get stronger when you carry a weighted rucksack, without the investment of a gym membership. In fact, our Rucker® is like wearing an entire gym on your back, and all you need to do is keep walking!

How can I intensify my walking?

Rucking can burn as many as 3x the amount of calories as walking. Plus, rucking has tons of strength and cardio benefits. If you want a more intense walk, just add a rucksack.

Here are the benefits of rucking that all walkers will appreciate…

1. Burns up to 3x the calories as walking

Burn more calories in the same amount of time by bringing a rucksack with you. You’ll be a little more sweaty and a little more tired, but you’ll be torching calories. Check out our Rucking Calorie Calculator, too.

2. Improves posture

Wearing a weighted rucksack pulls your shoulders back and strengthens your back. If you work at a desk or sit for long periods of time, rucking will save you a lot of back and neck trouble in the future. It’s a long-term investment in health and wellness that you’ll notice right away.

3. Increases bone density

Strength training increases bone density and decreases the likelihood of injuries as we age. You can go to the gym and perform strength movements like squats, deadlifts, curls, and presses, or you can carry weight on your back.

If you’re already walking a lot, add a rucksack. You’ll be less injury prone and have healthier joints as you age.

4. Get stronger

Walking is a low impact, low stress exercise. But stress is good for our muscles. Our muscles need challenge to stay strong as we age. Walking is great, but it ignores our upper bodies and doesn’t do much good for our larger glutes, hamstrings, and quads, either.

What’s the solution?

Add weight.

Adding a weighted rucksack to your walk gives you all the benefits of strength training without disrupting your daily walks. It keeps your heartrate elevated more than walking, too.

Carrying a heavy load is our favorite core exercise. That’s right, carrying weight around on your back is a total body workout.

How do I level up my walking?

Level up your walking by adding a weighted rucksack. Rucking is a low impact exercise with more strength and cardio benefits than just walking. Plus, rucking burns more calories than walking.

Get Started Rucking

Our beginner’s guide to rucking is a great place to start. All you’ll need is any backpack and some weight. Good footwear helps, too, but your walking shoes are a fine place to start.

Now, we recommend starting with 10-20 lbs, depending on your fitness level. One or two ruck marches per week (1-2 miles) is a safe starting point. Remember: your body is experiencing new stresses when you start rucking, so don’t overdo it. Those are just a few of our rucking tips, but it’s enough to get you started.

When we started GORUCK, we wrapped towels around bricks and threw them in our prototype rucksacks. Now we build the best rucksacks and Ruck Plates® to make every mile smooth and comfortable.

A beginner's setup

As your miles and weight increase, consider our beginner’s setup for a more comfortable ruck march…

  • Rucker®: reinforced rucksacks built to carry weight. Even if you’re starting with a lighter weight, this is the most comfortable bag you’ll own. In fact, if you want to replace every bag you own with one rucksack, consider the larger GR1.
  • Ruck Plates®: compact weights that fit seamlessly into the Rucker for superior stability. The Rucker® + a Ruck Plate® ensures your workouts are comfortable on your neck, shoulders, and back. Seriously, you wouldn’t think carrying weight would be this comfortable.
  • MACV-2™ rucking boots: built for every type of terrain, quality rucking boots keep your feet, ankles, knees, and hips happy under your rucksack. Carrying weight on your back requires extra stability and support in your footwear, and MACV-2 provides.
  • Hydration bladder: tough, easy to clean, and compatible with our rucksacks. Never wonder if you’ve got enough water for your long walks.
  • Ruck rain cover: our bags are water resistant, but for four season rucking we recommend keeping a rain cover handy. We don’t want the rain to keep you from getting outside, after all. This packs down to the size of a beer can, just keep it in your rucksack.
  • A cool patch: we sell VELCRO® patches to personalize your rucksack. We always strive to look cool, so we always have patches on our rucksacks.

Your New Favorite Walk: Rucking

Rucking has been known to grow on people quickly, so don’t be surprised if you enjoy hauling weight around town on your back. Remember, it’s good for you. If you want to make some rucking friends, consider a GORUCK Club or virtual Tribe ‘n Training.