Cotswold Natural Mindfulness & Forest Bathing

Ruck Club Info

Introducing Cheltenham RuckClub

Is a new approach to personal and community wellbeing.

In a noisy and distracting world, one of the best ways of staying healthy and sane is by reconnecting with our bodies, our minds, our spirit and nature.

RuckClub combines 5 essential elements to enhance health, happiness, and well-being.

#rucking (walking/hiking with a weighted rucksack) for a fitter body 🥾, #mindfulness for a relaxed and focussed mind 🧠, #natureconnection to free and raise our spirit 🌱, Plus #communityengagement and #fundraising activities to develop greater heart connection ♥️

At RuckClub we believe the integration of these 5 elements, offers a holistic approach that can profoundly impact our members’ lives and businesses.

RuckClub members meet up regularly on our guided walks/hikes in Cheltenham and the surrounding countryside. RuckClub has its own online social media platform where members can also meet up to share their experiences, connections, knowledge and insights.

How can I find out more about the Cheltenham RuckClub?

We are launching two RuckClubs in Cheltenham this February. A business RuckClub in partnership with the Human Business CIC which will be hosted by the Nelson Trust and our first public RuckClub – hosting venue to be confirmed soon.

If you are interested in talking to me about joining a RuckClub, or would like a chat about how you can help us develop and roll-out more RuckClubs, I’d love to hear from you. [Contact link]

How RuckClub Works?

RuckClub, provides weekly/monthly guided walks/hikes where members and non-members can increase fitness levels, develop a stronger core and burn calories, and so much more.

Unlike many traditional physical exercise activities, RuckClub incorporates nature-based mindfulness practice allowing you to develop a greater sense of self-awareness, achieve a deeper level of relaxation, improve your mental clarity and focus, helping you regulate emotional balance.

The third element of a RuckClub experience, is Nature Connection. Our mindful, low-impact, guided hikes along scenic trails, immerse you in nature’s beauty and provide you with a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

RuckClub creates a community of like-minded and warm-hearted people who share a passion for self and community engagement. Members are encouraged to meet-up on our weekly training sessions and also join our own online community to share experiences, connections, knowledge and insights.

The fifth element of RuckClub is our seasonal fundraising events where club members can work together to raise funds for local charities and good causes.

By embracing these five essential elements of wellbeing, RuckClub offers a unique and comprehensive approach to health and well-being that goes far beyond superficial trends.

We’d love you to join us on this journey and discover the healing power of nature and simplicity.

I made this short  7 minute introductory video to give you a better idea and a deeper understanding of RuckClub.


Learn more about rucking and the benefits of joining RuckClub?


Rucking is a low impact, physical workout wearing a weighted rucksack, or back pack.

The origins of Rucking date back to over 5,000 years ago. Rucking is an exercise associated with military training. It involves walking while carrying a weight in a backpack. The word “rucksack” comes from the German word for back, “zurück.” This training builds discipline, fitness, endurance, and unit cohesiveness in soldiers. The first recorded instance of a warrior carrying a backpack was ‘Otzi the iceman’, a natural mummy preserved since 3000BC

Over the past decade, rucking has become popular among outdoor athletes, hikers, and those seeking a more effective low-impact cardio and strength-building activity than regular walking.

The beauty of rucking is its simplicity. All you do is load weight into your backpack, tie on your walking boots and head outside. Any walker can ruck by starting out with a small load and increasing the weight over time.

Why Ruck?

With many of us using our mobile devices and sitting watching screens for hours and hours a day it’s no surprise our physical and mental health is suffering. There is now scientific proof that our disconnection with nature is also having a detrimental effect on our overall wellbeing. At RuckClub we have combined the low-impact cardio and strength building activity of rucking, with mindfulness based nature connection (natural mindfulness) to create a more holistic approach to health and well-being.

Rucking can have a truly positive impact on your overall health if done on a constant basis. Rucking in the company of others can be a great way to get even more from this enjoyable and rewarding exercise. Deciding to join us as a regular member can not only develop your physical and mental fitness, it can also build your social fitness too.

When rucking with a group, you have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for this activity. The camaraderie built through shared experiences can be invaluable in pushing yourself beyond your limits and achieving new goals. It creates a sense of belonging and support, making your rucking journey even more fulfilling.

Moreover, participating in group rucking sessions introduces an element of friendly competition. You can challenge yourself and others by setting collective goals or engaging in team-based activities. This adds an exciting twist to your fitness routine and motivates you to push harder, knowing that you’re not alone in your quest for improvement.

Lastly, the social aspect of group rucking extends beyond the exercise itself. It provides an opportunity to expand your social circle, meet new people, and forge lasting friendships. The bonds formed during these shared adventures can lead to a network of support and encouragement that transcends the rucking trail, adding a significant positive impact to your overall well-being.

Rucking Benefits

  • Great cardio. Rucking is a great cardio workout, depending on how fast you walk, how far you go, and how much you carry.
  • Improves posture. When performed correctly, it builds core muscles and trains you to walk upright.
  • Improves bone density. Weight-bearing exercises, like a rucking workout, improve bone density, critical for strong bones as you age.
  • Provides a functional workout. Rucking trains your muscles to work together for common, everyday tasks and reduces injuries during daily chores.
  • Builds muscle. Walking builds muscle, but walking with weight builds a greater number of muscles faster, like shoulder, abdominal, leg, and back muscles.
  • Burns calories. Rucking burns more calories by moving more weight than you usually carry when walking without a rucksack.
  • Increases endurance. Foot marching with weight increases your endurance — also called ruck march capacity — much faster than walking without weight.

Mindfulness in Natural Settings

Mindfulness in natural settings can yield positive results, as the experience of the natural environment captures attention and aids in disengagement. It can also reduce mind wandering and emotional overwhelm. Outdoor activity that fosters a mindful state are linked to greater health improvements. Though the hustle and bustle of daily life often distracts us, taking the time to immerse ourselves in nature can bring us back to the present moment and enhance our overall well-being.

Recent studies reveal that Nature-based mindfulness practices positively impact mental, physical, and social health. Research shows that when we engage in activities such as hiking, gardening, or simply sitting in a park can have profound effects on our mind and body. The peacefulness and tranquillity of natural surroundings can help reduce stress and anxiety, while also promoting a sense of connectedness with the world around us. Moreover, practicing mindfulness in nature can foster a sense of empathy and compassion, as we become more attuned to the needs of the environment and appreciate its beauty.

At RuckClub we believe that merging mindfulness practice and nature connection not only benefits our own well-being, but also contributes to the preservation and conservation of the natural world. By fostering a deep connection with nature, we develop a greater understanding of its value and the need to protect it. This recognition can lead to sustainable behaviours and motivate us to become advocates for environmental stewardship.

RuckClub embraces the power of mindfulness in nature, for it has the potential to transform not only our individual lives but also the world we inhabit.

Benefits from Nature Connection

Florence Williams is a journalist who often writes about the connections between people, health, and nature. She is the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Here are just a few of the benefits Florence discovered while researching for her book:


  • Within 5 minutes of entering a forest surrounded by trees, the heart rate slows, facial muscles relax, and the prefrontal cortex quiets.
  • Water and birdsong improve mood and alertness.
  • 15 minutes in nature can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Exploring natural landscapes increases alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with calm and alertness.
  • 90 minutes in nature reduces rumination and helps us to be less preoccupied with problems.
  • Two hours (120 minutes) per week in nature can make us happier and boost overall health and well-being.
  • Nature connectedness increases our eudemonic wellbeing – the pursuit of long lasting happiness through self-fulfilment, self-improvement, meaning and purpose.

Is Rucking Risky?

Having looked at some of the benefits of rucking it is wise to also consider the “risks” too. The risks of rucking are in fact quite minimal, as long as you know your body’s limits, start with low weight, and progress slowly with the right gear.

Here are six common mistakes beginners make:

  • Increasing weight too quickly
  • Walking too far with a weighted pack
  • Using a poorly fitting rucking backpack or pair of shoes
  • Loading weight incorrectly into your pack
  • Inadequate hydration and sun protection in hot climates
  • Inadequate nutrition for a strenuous workout

Like any exercise, knowing and remaining mindful of your body is key. Starting with too much weight or an improperly loaded pack may feel fine during the first quarter mile of a hike, but after a mile or two, you may be in too much pain to finish the route. This is why having people around you and a guide to help you minimise risks and maximise the rewards is key.

RuckClub will be inviting applications to join our team of Natural Mindfulness Rucking guides in 2024. If you are fit, energetic, interested in holistic health & wellbeing and want to learn more about our guide training programme, REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

Tips for New RuckClub Members

While rucking is simple, it still requires some learning and preparation. Here are some helpful tips:

Route Planning

Your RuckClub Guide will always set a distance and a course to ensure new members start with the right route for their current level of fitness. Your guide will also set a mileage that pushes your limit just enough to make you feel like you finished a great workout. It’s recommended you start off with a route you are familiar with. Ideally one you have walked previously without weight. This way, you can gauge your baseline walking fitness and can progress in an organised manner.

Choose the right shoes

Good walking shoes, or trainers are sufficient for new members. As you carry more weight or walk more technical terrain, boots become necessary to relieve your feet of the extra burden and trail complexities.

Choose the right socks

In general, cotton socks are frowned upon as they hold too much moisture against your skin, increasing friction and blisters. Merino wool is an excellent choice, but other synthetic fabrics like polyester and silk also work well.

Carry water

Water bottles or hydration bladder packs can be considered part of your weight. Either are essential for staying hydrated, especially on long walks in the summer sun.

Use the right rucking backpack

Backpacks and rucksacks are interchangeable terms these days. The goal is to ruck with a pack that safely supports whatever weight you carry. When you first start, carry at most 10–15% of your body weight. A less expensive and less sturdy rucksack can be adequate for this load. After rucking for a few weeks, you’ll be well acquainted with your pack, noticing where it’s uncomfortable.


To keep rucking simple and inexpensive, your RuckClub guide will have a selection of ruck-weights you can hire on the day for a small fee. Once you become a regular member you may wish to invest in your own ruck-weights. When you are carrying your ruck and weights, notice your posture when you walk to know if you are carrying too much weight. If you are bent over too far, you’re bearing too much for your current fitness level or have packed the weight improperly. Your RuckClub guide will be there to assist you throughout the hike.

Load the weight correctly

One downside to a flimsy backpack is how the weight sinks to the bottom of the pack. Loading all the weight into the bottom pulls on your shoulders, lower back, and hips, greatly increasing your energy use and risk of injury. When you carry larger loads, the weight should be packed into the middle back of your rucking backpack close to your body not at the bottom. It’s easier to pack weight this way in a pack with an internal frame or various pockets where you distribute the weight. In whatever pack you use, practice shifting the weight to get a good feel for the best way to carry it.

Ruck regularly, but not every day

RuckClub guide weekly walks and recommend you don’t ruck every day. Your body needs time to recover. The best part of rucking is simply being outdoors with friends. Training can be a discipline like any other necessary chore, but mixing up your workouts, getting outside, and training with friends can help you enjoy it so much more.

Join RuckClub as a member in 2024

Rucking can have a truly positive impact on your overall health if done on a constant basis. Rucking in the company of others can be a great way to get even more from this enjoyable and rewarding exercise. Deciding to join us as a regular member can not only develop your physical and mental fitness, it can also build your social fitness too.

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