13 Sep Want to Kick Up Your Walking? Here’s How.
When you’re walking for exercise, there are a few ways that you can change the intensity: you can walk faster, you can walk up a hill, or you can add an external weight—hand weights, wrist or ankle weights, or a weighted vest.
If you’re interested in increasing the intensity of your walking workout, here’s how to do it safely:
- Use weights that are 3 pounds at the most. This will allow you to keep your regular walking pattern
- Don’t exaggerate your movements. Using small weights is intended to increase the intensity of your cardio routine, it is not to turn the walk into a strength training workout.
- You could hold a full water bottle in one hand if you don’t have dumbbells or wrist weights. It is fine to hold something in just one hand, it doesn’t have to be even on both sides.
- Use a weighted vest, if you can find one! Some researchers believe this is better as it adds weight to your trunk, where it is more natural to move with it. They feel that a vest that adds 10-15% of your body weight helps to burn more calories without necessarily feeling like you are exerting more.
- Don’t walk with weights every day—begin with 2-3 days per week with light weight, and progress to more frequent or longer walks over four to six weeks
Have fun with it! The goal is to keep your body moving, and using weights can add variability to your workout. It should not be painful or overly strenuous, and certainly should not be heavy enough that it changes your gait pattern. Go see what you can do!