While losing weight through walking is possible, I wanted to do more to burn calories and build muscle. That’s when I began searching on walking with weights, with many raving about its benefits and the amazing results. However, it does have its risks and you need to know how to do it properly to avoid them!
With that said, is walking with weights properly suitable for you? I did the research and tried it myself, so read on as I talk about this type of exercise!
- 1 The Benefits of Walking With Weights
- 2 What About the Risks?
- 3 How to Start Walking With Weights
- 4 Wrapping It Up
The Benefits of Walking With Weights
I’m always told that a mix of strength and cardio is the optimal way to a healthier body. But what if I combined both to hit two birds with one stone?
As I did my research, I learned that walking with weights had its advantages, such as:
Burns More Calories
Walking is considered as a light to moderate exercise, depending on how far and fast you go. Because of this, it isn’t a huge calorie buster as well. When adding weights to your workout, it has you burn more calories with the same distance and speed you usually go for.
When you increase your weights as you walk, you also increase your workout intensity. With the increase of intensity, your heart works more to supply your muscles with necessary nutrients and oxygen for energy. Your heart rate increases, having you sweat more, improve your cardiovascular health, and burn more calories.
Tone Your Muscles (Slowly)
Because you’ll be using either ankle or hand weights, the increased weight as you move is considered as strength training. This helps you tone certain areas as you walk, improving the body’s muscles and strength for activities other than your daily walks.
What About the Risks?
While walking with weights does have its benefits, there’s also some controversy in doing so. Remember, like certain exercises, this is not for everyone and you have to watch out for the following disadvantages:
May Cause High Blood Pressure
When you walk with dumbbells or hand weights, you grip these weights tightly, which raises one’s blood pressure. As a result, it can cause high blood pressure, especially when holding these for longer periods. For those who already suffer from high blood pressure, it can lead to serious health issues!
Strain and Muscle Imbalance From Weights
When you swing your arms back and forth with weights, it can lead to muscle imbalance. It also leads to joint or ligament strain, whether you use dumbbells or ankle weights.
As a result of this strain and imbalance, it can throw off the natural walking movement and have you walk and stride differently. This can cause soreness and swelling, increasing your risk of injury. But you can avoid this by staying wary of your movements as you walk with weights.
That’s why it’s important to evaluate if walking with weights is right for you and to prepare with the correct equipment. I’ll be getting into all that in the next section if you want to try it out!
How to Start Walking With Weights
So, do you think you’re ready to start trying to walk with more weight involved? Now that you know the pros and cons of walking with weights, follow these helpful tips to begin doing it:
Select the Right Type of Weight
There are many different weights to walk with, though some of them aren’t for everyone. Choose something that suits YOUR preference and level of comfort, also considering if you have specific conditions on your wrists or ankles.
You can choose between the following weights:
- Weighted balls
- Wrist weights
- Ankle weights
- Weighted vests
Now, it’s time to choose the right weight! You should start with one pound but if you’re already fit, you can go up to three pounds maximum to start.
Do NOT add too much weight at first and start with something lighter, increasing it only as you gain confidence. Your aim is to increase your calorie burn over time while sticking to your speed and time (or go even longer), not to lift the heaviest weight.
Focus On Your Form
Your form is the number one priority when walking, especially when using weights, to prevent any pain or injuries.
When using freehand weights, hold it properly and bend your elbows to about 90-degrees while swinging your arms. Avoid swinging your arms too quickly and intensely and keep a straight back with your neck looking forward.
Take Caution and Start Slowly
Be careful when you begin walking with weights, focusing more on your form. I highly recommend that only experienced walkers start doing this first rather than complete beginners.
Begin with the lightest weights (usually one pound) and increase it SLOWLY, adding no more than one pound at a time. If you experience pain, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
Alternatives to Weights
If you feel like you can’t walk with ankle, wrist, or free weights, then there are alternatives!
You can use a weighted vest, which is usually doctor-approved and more recommended compared to other weight types. Though consult with your doctor beforehand, especially if you have back or neck issues.
Another alternative is to amp up your walking exercises, such as walking uphill at a faster pace to boost your heart rate.
Besides these tips, check out this informative video to learn more on how to walk with weights properly:
Wrapping It Up
Walking with weights doesn’t need to be so difficult, as long as you know where to begin. By being prepared with the RIGHT weights and wearing the correct shoes to prevent injuries, you won’t have any trouble as you gain muscle while getting your cardio.
Hopefully, my article on walking with weights informed you of how to start! So if you feel like this exercise is for you, follow these helpful tips now.
If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences when walking with weights, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated.