West Virginia is ideal for this easy weight loss exercise

Moore prepares for the ruck at the IMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley. The sticks he uses for balance are not required for handling.

BECKLEY, V. Va. With its walkable towns and seemingly limitless hiking trails, West Virginia is ideally suited for “rucking,” an extremely accessible exercise that’s growing in popularity as both a group pursuit and a solitary endeavor.

Backpacking, or simply walking with a weighted pack, is relatively easy and inexpensive and can provide dramatic weight loss, says Levi Moore, an outdoor adventure instructor who works to expand the pastime in the Mountain State.

Levi Moore is packing a backpack
Moore loads 25 pounds of weights into a backpack in preparation for the rack.

“Anywhere you can walk, you can run,” says Moore, who has become a supporter, thanks in part to the ease with which it can be accomplished.

A form of exercise rooted in military training, it got its name from the term “backpack”. It has been used as the main form of conditioning since the formation of the Roman army, and is also known as the “charged march” when the pace of the arm is fast.

To drum up interest, Moore will be taking part in a 24-hour rally around the IMCA Football Complex in Beckley from noon to noon on November 18 and 19 and is inviting anyone who wants to explore the sport to join him on the journey .

In the heart of the eastern US, West Virginia is a popular destination for winter hiking.
In the heart of the eastern US, West Virginia is a popular destination for winter hiking. (Photo: Rick Coffman) Read: Six Tips for Winter Hiking in West Virginia.

In the meantime, Moore suggests West Virginians look for a way to burn more calories, throw on a sturdy 5- to 10-pound backpack, and hit the trail of their choice.

You’ll find plenty of information about rucking online to help you get started, he says.

Six ways running is ideal exercise

As simple and easy as handling sounds, there are countless reasons to get started. Here are six reasons

Increased calorie burning

Running with a backpack that weighs between 10 and 20 percent of your body weight can burn an average of 500 to 1,000 calories in an hour, comparable to running or cycling.

Strengthens muscles

Rucking strengthens multiple muscle groups, including the legs, back and core. This speeds up the metabolism and helps burn calories even when one is not driving a truck.

Reduces stress

Stress can lead to weight gain and a slower metabolism, but regular exercise helps reduce stress and creates an ideal environment for weight loss.

Low impact

Rucking is a low impact exercise. It’s easy on the joints, making it a great option for people with knee or back problems.


The key to a good weight loss exercise program is consistency. Since handling is cheap and can be done anywhere at any time, it increases the likelihood of maintenance.

Social Component

Since jogging is done while walking, it allows for a suitable pace for carrying on a conversation. Unlike other physical activities for weight loss, it will allow individuals of different fitness levels to participate together. A fitter person can add more weight to their backpack to maintain a pace suitable for a less fit person.

Have fun in West Virginia

Ready to get started? Here are some tips to help you get started today.

Invest in a good backpack.

A comfortable backpack that fits well is key. Look for a pack with adjustable straps and a sound weight distribution system to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. If you’re just starting out, any pack will do if it can handle the weight.

Start with a light weight.

Beginners should start with maybe 5 to 10 pounds and gradually increase as their fitness improves. Some local sports stores may carry weights and backpacks.

Find a good clue.

Look for a well-maintained walking or hiking trail that you can use regularly. This is usually not a problem in West Virginia. Because of the vast number of privately and publicly accessible trails in the Mountain State, you’ll be able to find plenty of other routes to add variety.

Set realistic goals.

Start with short jogging sessions of 15 to 30 minutes and gradually increase the duration. Consult your doctor before starting any weight loss or exercise program.

Hikers flee to the mountains of eastern West Virginia near Washington
Hikers flee to the mountains of eastern West Virginia near Washington


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