Walking is a great exercise with your own weight, which can help anyone, from beginner to advanced, lose weight. If the extra weight is added correctly, it can bring even more benefits. According to Megan Beck, a personal trainer from Boston, the higher the endurance, the more muscle strength is required, so the extra weight can be correlated with greater strength. If you train your body with weights, you also learn to put more effort into maintaining speed, which means that if you don’t have that extra weight, you may notice that you’re moving faster, Beck adds.

Of course, adding weight to your walk is not as easy as tying dumbbells to your ankles or taking dumbbells. When walking with weights, maintaining proper posture is of paramount importance. “Your body gets stronger in the pose you’re wearing while adding resistance,” Beck says. “Form is the most important factor in everything related to body fitness, especially when it comes to external resistance.”

Here are four ways to safely and effectively add weight to your walks:

WEAR A WEIGHT VEST

“People aren’t built with 10-pound legs or five-pound arms for some reason,” says Holly Perkins, a certified strength and fitness specialist and author of “Lift to Lose Weight.””Using ankle dumbbells or too heavy hand dumbbells can lead to their biomechanical reset and cause an imbalance or more serious problems.

On the other hand, walking in a weighted vest or belt (about 10 pounds to start with, Perkins suggests) can be very productive, she notes. “The human body is designed to withstand moving loads when the central part of the body is heavier.”

A weighting vest or belt can help increase calorie intake, increase strength and strengthen muscles. “The legs have to move heavier objects, so you’ll see an increase in leg strength,” says Perkins.

MAINTAIN HAND WEIGHT OF 3 POUNDS MAX

According to Perkins, if you use hand dumbbells, keep them at 3 pounds or less per arm so you can prioritize good walking technique. Keep your torso tense and your elbows bent, pulling your shoulders back to absorb excess weight throughout your torso without swinging from side to side, which can lead to lower back problems.

USE WALKING STICKS FOR HIKES

“If you’re tired, you tend to fall forward,” says certified strength and fitness specialist Michelle Lovitt, a trainer from Beverly Hills. “Walking canes not only require you to use your hands, but also help maintain your posture, which will probably lead to a better workout.”

According to Lovitt, if you adopt a firm posture and use your hands, you will be able to strain more muscle groups, which can lead to an increase in calorie consumption and reduce the risk of possible pain in the musculoskeletal system. She especially prefers hiking sticks during walks when fatigue appears.

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