I take my dog on hour long walks every day and I thought that I'd try to get myself a little more benefit out of it. I was thinking about throwing a bunch of my Chemistry and Physics textbooks in my backpack to relive the hell that was my college campus experience. Does anyone have any knowledge of the health benefits/risks of backpacking?
Get a backpack with a frame
I strongly recommend you get a backpack with a frame and hipbelt if you are going to carry any kind of weight. You will have a better center of balance, the weight will be better distributed (onto your hips), and it will keep the weight from pulling your shoulders back and apart.
It will make your legs stronger and improve your endurance, but so will a lot of other things - more fitness oriented people probably have informed opinions about that. The biggest benefit would be if you are doing hills or stairs, because you will be pushing extra weight against gravity. When I backpack I can do 40lbs on flat ground no problem, but on big ascents with 40lbs lifting that extra weight every step really adds up.
Is the dog too small to run next to you?
Health risks are minimal as long as you don't run while carrying significant weight.
Last edited by mgb; 6/14/2009 7:12pm at .
Yeah, I would take him running but he is an elderly Basset Hound. His top speed is pretty much a brisk walk for a human. I train martial arts 5-6 days a week, so I'm not lacking general exercise. But, since I'm still young, am always looking for a chance to get in better shape, and I HAVE TO take my dog for this walk every day, I thought I'd get the additional benefit.
Originally Posted by mgb
I'm no expert, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but from what I know - even the backpack, even a weighted vest, etc. poses more risk of negatively affecting your posture than is worth the marginal benefits it would provide.
That is why I would never do this with a backpack unless it has a hipbelt and sternum strap, and is correctly sized. With a backpack sized and worn correctly, most or all of the weight is on the hips and not the back, leaving the torso to stabilize the weight with the shoulder straps rather than carrying it. When I am packing I have a straight back and lean slightly forward at the hip, and there is essentially no pressure on my spine.
Originally Posted by u1ysses
Which of course means that unless you have a quality backpack already you are looking at putting out a bit of cash to get something well-constructed. Since you don't care about the weight of the pack itself or features you could go with a basic Kelty or REI brand but you are still looking at around $75-100 for a closeout/discontinued model. Maybe start checking craigslist for your area.
Last edited by mgb; 6/14/2009 9:26pm at .
I have backpacked for forty years and I think it is great exercise. I do a great deal of it in mountain and jungles of Thailand and am a member of mountain rescue team. I try to keep the weight down in my pack as it is difficult terrain, what with steep m ountains, thick jungle growth and treacherous footing in rainy season. However, when I am at home I sometimes fill backpack with rocks or bag of rice and walk around village an hour or so just for exercise. personally I do not wear a backpack with frame, but may people do use these and recommend them.