Walking or Running With Weights

The question of whether you can enhance your cardio workout by adding additional weight in the form of hand-held dumbbells, heavy belts, vests or other such paraphernalia is a question that arises from time to time. You might use these aids on a treadmill or walking or running outdoors.

Some years ago, walking with small dumbbells was very popular -- and is still used by some people in their workouts.

Strap-fixed wrist and ankle weights have also been used. The general idea is that increased weight makes you work harder and you therefore expend more energy, which helps in weight loss and fitness development. Here's an analysis of what you can expect from adding weights to a cardio workout.

  1. First, the extra weight -- hand-held dumbbells for example -- will result in you burning a few more calories, but only if they don't cause you to slow down. If you slow down, the reduced pace will negate any extra energy expenditure from the additional weight carried.
  2. Second, swinging dumbbells by the side will have no appreciable effect on muscle building or toning. The movement is not specific enough to be of any use in this regard.
  3. And finally, if the weight carried causes you to alter your normal exercise form, say leaning forward, back or to one side, then you could cause some muscle and joint imbalance that might result in injury over time. That's probably an outside chance, but it's worth looking out for.

    In summary, if you enjoy walking with weights, then continue to do so but take note of the points above for best application.

    Continue Reading