We try rucking to see if it's the best way to keep fit in Birmingham & made a weighty discovery

I take a step up from walking and try some rucking to help achieve my New Year fitness goal - here's how I got on

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You can be forgiven for putting a bit of timber during the indulgence of the festive period. Yet, as the New Year heralds fresh beginnings, it presents us with an opportunity to once again focus on our fitness goals. There is a myriad of fitness trends nowadays but for me there's one thing almost all of us can do while getting to experience the beauty of the West Midlands.

Walking - it's something most of us do every day. Apart from the logistical benefits of getting from A to B it is also a valuable form of exercise. It enriches cardiovascular and musculoskeletal wellbeing, aids in calorie combustion and does wonders for mental health, particularly when situated in an exceptionally tranquil setting.

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Though walking is a cornerstone of physical activity, its inherent low intensity might not be enough for those aiming for substantial fitness gains. Rucking, which entails walking or hiking with a weighted backpack, can elevate the exercise. This activity not only hastens the calorie burning process but also robustly fortifies the muscles, with a notable emphasis on core strength.

Additionally, amidst the chill of cold weather, the extra exertion undoubtedly assists in raising body temperature. It cultivates mental resilience, and in the wake of a cost of living crisis, stands out as an entirely free form of exercise. The West Midlands boasts some beautiful trails offering the perfect setting for this particularly rewarding activity.

Rucking in Brunswick ParkRucking in Brunswick Park
Rucking in Brunswick Park

Consider the Lickey Hills as a prime example, located 11 miles southwest of Birmingham’s city centre, where expansive views of the urban sprawl unfurl and a network of clearly designated walking paths across the park. It boasts 5,000 metres of bridle path, ideal for those seeking a retreat perched on the outskirts of the conurbation.

Shire Country Park offers a delightful sanctuary south of the city centre, composed of diverse habitats including wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, and heaths. It shelters Sarehole Mill, situated a mere 300 yards from the former abode of the celebrated author J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Edgbaston Reservoir presents another tempting location: despite its proximity to the city centre, its two-mile perimeter trail provides an oasis of serenity conducive to your fitness routines.

Birmingham and the surrounding areas boast various other gems, such as Clent Hills, Kinver and Sutton Park, each offering stunning hiking trails ripe for exploration. In our quest for fitness, there are plenty of options at our disposal. I asked people in Birmingham what they suggest.

Sherry in Birmingham shares how she stays in shapeSherry in Birmingham shares how she stays in shape
Sherry in Birmingham shares how she stays in shape

Chris says:

“Personally I try to go to the gym although I struggle with a bit of motivation. I think to myself I've probably been looking at maybe getting a personal trainer or there's online fitness coaches now - but it's just quite expensive so that puts me off. But yeah I think I've got a few friends that get out on the bike so I'm trying to be a bit more accountable with my fitness just so the more people I tell then hopefully they can follow up with me.”

Sherry says: “Don't set goals that are not achievable, that's what I would say. I go to the gym three times a week if I can. I'm 70 years old and I plan on still going to the gym in the next 20, 30 years.”

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