Walking with strap-on ankle or wrist weights forces your body to burn extra calories, so the activity can make improve your weight loss. You can also get similar benefits by walking with a couple of small dumbbells in your hands.
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why you may be better off leaving the weights at home and walking without the added poundage.
In the end, whether you walk with weights or not comes down to a matter of personal choice. Plenty of people do it. However, most of them are probably unaware this type of weighted walking has the potential to cause joint problems and other undesirable issues.
This article provides the pros and cons of walking with weights to help you decide if it’s a route you want to take.
At the end of the article, I’m going to suggest a better way to burn more calories during your walk.
Why Walking with Weights Can Speed Up Weight Loss
Before going any further, I need to point out, correct diet is more important than exercise. If you don’t take steps to control how many calories you consume each day, walking (with or without weights), may not be enough to get the readout on your bathroom scales moving in the right direction.
As with any other form of physical activity, such as jogging or going to the gym, walking requires energy. When your diet is sufficiently low in calories, your body will have to power the activity by releasing the calories stored in its fat.
As you may be aware, people who are overweight can burn more calories than slimmer people do by performing the same activity. This is mainly because they need to expend more energy because of their extra weight.
If you’ve ever given anyone a piggyback ride you will be aware how much difference extra weight can make. The difference is even more noticeable when you encounter a hill or try to pick up the pace.
Of course, walking with ankle or wrist weights on, or even a weighted vest, is not going to be as hard as walking with a person on your back but the extra weight is enough to increase your energy expenditure and help you to burn more calories than you would if you were to walk the same route, at the same speed, without the added weight.
The Downside of Walking with Weights
There are several different ways you can add extra weight to your body while walking. Some people do it by walking with a couple of light dumbbells in their hands. Strap-on Ankle weights or wrist weights are more popular though, and some people prefer to wear a weighted vest. Some hardcore individuals even use all three.
The problem with ankle and wrist weights is they put extra strain on the joints and tendons in your legs. They are a much better option for slow exercises such as leg raises and can be very good for improving muscle tone.
15-Minute Ankle Weight Workout
Walking with ankle weights can also alter your stride and place extra stress on your lower back. However, if you really want to go this route, go for lighter options of no more than a couple of kilograms per leg.
Walking with wrist weights poses similar problems. The extra weight may cause muscle imbalance as your arms swing by your side. Using wrist weights during a walk also has the potential to cause problems with the joints and tendons in your wrists, elbows, and shoulders. You could even experience problems with your neck.
Like ankle weights, wrist weights work best for slower exercises that are intended to improve muscle tone.
5-Minute Arm Workout:
Weighted vests can be a better option than strapping weights to your limbs. The extra pressure they put on your bones during walking may even stimulate the growth of fresh bone cells.
Unfortunately, this type of exercise vest also places extra strain on the spine. That makes them unsuitable walking apparel for anyone who has back or neck problems.
However, if you do decide to walk in a weighted vest, experts suggest choosing one that is no heavier than 10 percent of your body weight.
If you have health or mobility issues, it is always best to check with your doctor before taking up any new health and fitness routine or weight management regimen.
This is also a good idea if you normally live a very sedentary lifestyle or have any concerns or worries about your general health or level of fitness.
*Information on the Diet Pill Ninja website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.
Alternative Ways to Burn More Calories While Walking
There are several things you can do to burn extra calories by walking. However, you need to remember there are more energetic alternatives, such as aerobics and boxercise that will pay a higher dividend in burned calories for the same investment in time.
Walking has several advantages over gym classes and the like though. One of them is it doesn’t cost anything to do and can be easy to fit into your daily routine. Another advantage is, if you decide to walk more instead of using public transport or hopping in your car, walking can actually save you money.
If you are extremely obese or have mobility issues, you may not be able to pursue more energetic activities. Taking regular walks could be the first step to reclaiming your physical fitness and ditching your excess weight.
Research involving pedometers proves, the value of walking as a weight loss aid.
The weight loss was modest, but every little helps, and if you up your pace, you can lose more.
Walking faster is a good way to burn extra calories. If you make an effort to swing your arms as you walk, it will help you to burn a few more.
If you normally walk for an hour and cover 3 miles, if you were to walk 50 percent faster, for example, you would cover 4 1/2 miles in the same amount of time. The extra exertion would require more calories, enabling you to burn more fat.
Walk More Often and/or Further
If you normally take a brisk walk in the evening, that’s good. You will be burning more calories than you would if you spent the evening on the sofa at home.
However, time permitting, if you can muster the enthusiasm, extending your walk is another good way to burn extra calories.
If you normally walk three miles five evenings per week, adding an extra mile to your walk would up your mileage to 20 miles per week instead of 15. That would be almost the same as if you’d done a three-mile walk seven days a week instead of five.
This small change won’t increase your calorie expenditure by a dramatic amount but every little helps and it all adds up over time.
Eleven moderate-weight women who took part in one six-month study lost an average of 17 pounds (7.7 kg) by taking brisk 60-minute walks every day. This was enough to reduce their average body weight by 10 percent.
Presuming the distance is not too great, you can burn even more calories by walking to work and making an effort to always use the stairs instead of escalators or lifts. You could do this in addition to your normal walks or speed walks.
Implementing a few lifestyle changes could help you double the amount of calories you burn by walking each week without the need to strap weights to your body.
If you would like to calculate how many calories you can burn by walking, Omni Calculator has a handy, free online tool.
Choose a More Challenging Route
If your local terrain permits it, you can burn extra calories while walking by switching to a route that has more hills to walk up or forces you to climb stairs.
In addition to burning extra calories, a more challenging route will also help you to improve your level of physical fitness and stamina.
Try Walking on a Variety of Terrains
Walking on the sidewalk is a lot easier than walking on stones, cobbles, sand, or grass. When your walking surface changes, your feet have to adapt to different angles this forces you to use extra muscles you wouldn’t be using on a harder, flatter surface.
Use Walking Poles
If your normal route takes you through the countryside, walking poles can help you to burn extra calories. The poles force you to use the muscles in your upper body, causing a need for extra calories.
You could use walking poles in the city if you want, but it could make you look and feel a little silly.
Vary Your Pace
If you want to burn more calories but need to build up your physical fitness or endurance first, you could try picking up your pace for a certain number of steps or minutes and then return to your normal pace for the same number of steps or minutes. Then rinse and repeat and repeat…
Alternatively, if you have the energy and your health permits, you could alternate between walking and light jogging. You’ll burn more calories and fat ‒ with no weights required.