The clouds are finally starting to clear up here in DC, the temperature is starting to hit the mid 70’s, and the famous cherry blossoms are finishing their last blooms. No time would be perfect to start walking the mall in the early mornings when the violet and tangerine sunrise gazes across the Capitol. Morning runs are always a great way to exercise in this very scenic location. If you’re looking for a bigger physical challenge that will help you stand out a little bit from the hordes of joggers and tourists, I recommend doing the Ruck March Challenge on the Mall. This is an event that the Georgetown ROTC cadets and the Ft. Myer soldiers do to maintain their physical edge and build Espirit de Corps. This challenge consists of placing 35-45 lbs in a sturdy backpack and conducting a fast-paced walk around the mall. You start at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, walk all the way to the Capitol Building, go around the Capitol building, and walk all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial for a total of 4.68 miles. This is a fairly moderate distance and a good initial time goal would be around 90-100 minutes.
Ruck marching is an excellent way to work out your back, shoulders, chest, and of course your quadricep leg muscles while still getting the same cardio benefit as long distance jogging. Rucking is an excellent endurance builder that trains your body to become more injury resilient by building hip and postural stability. While your normal 30 minutes of jogging burns about 125 calories, 30 minutes of rucking will help you burn around 325 calories. Just like any other type of exercise, start rucking with a smaller amount of weight around 20-25 lbs and a distance of 3-5 miles, and gradually increase both of these as time progresses.
I challenge all of you to give rucking a try, even if it means starting small and gradually building up to longer distances and more weight. There’s no better place to try it than here on the National Mall where you have so many wonderful monuments, government buildings, and museums to gaze at as your crunching calories and sculpting your body all in one exercise. Take on the National Mall Ruck March Challenge and see if you have what it takes to beat the Army soldiers and cadets.
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Until next time,