Walking Weights

Using Weights While Walking Is Not the First Choice

Wearing weights can increase the calories burned while walking, but it is far safer to just walk longer instead. Weights at the ankles, feet, wrists and hands increase the risk of injury to the knees, shoulders, muscles, tendons and also risk repetitive motion injury. A weighted backpack can cause strain if the weight is not distributed across the hips. Only a weighted vest or hip belt is recommended. No walking health experts recommend weighted shoes.

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The only weights I can recommend, with caution, are to add weights to your torso with a balanced weight vest.  I like it because you can add half pound weights, from 0.75 to 10 pounds. This will help you to burn more calories per mile. If you are already at ideal weight and have no joint problems such as arthritis or knee pain, then you may want to try a walking vest. But you can burn those same extra calories by nordic walking with walking poles or by just walking a couple extra minutes each session.

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This weight vest starts at 12 pounds, which would be a reasonable weight. You can buy versions at significantly higher weights, which will include padded shoulders for comfort. However, these place weight on the chest as well.

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A weighted vest is the only walking weight item that I can recommend. This vest allows you to add up to 20 pounds and carry it distributed properly to reduce risk of injury. This will increase your calories burned per mile. You can add or remove the weights to build up gradually the additional weight you carry.

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NYK Weighted Walk Vest

Adding weight to your torso is the safest way burn more calories per mile. This vest has flap pockets to keep weight secure. You can add or remove weight in 1/2 pound increments up to four pounds.

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If you want to do some upper body toning while walking, this lightweight device can give you some resistance. Personally, I'd rather concentrate on proper walking form and good arm motion. It is a great item to use to whack attacking dogs or muggers - it hurts but won't permanently injure them.

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Hand or wrist weights can be used with arm motion to give you some extra toning. I don't recommend them because they can increase​ the risk of injury to your shoulder, neck, elbow, or wrist. However, if you really want to use hand weights these are one pound each, with additional weights you can add once you stop and are ready for a real upper body workout. Use only on shorter walks. Made with soft foam and adjustable velcro hand grip.

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Experts do not recommend ankle weights for walking because they can increase the risk of strain and injury. You can burn more calories by simply walking another few minutes instead. However, if you really want to wear ankle weights, these weights are adjustable by adding or removing 1/4 lb. metal weights, up to 2.5 lb. per ankle.

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