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Walking Weights

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Updated May 31, 2014

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. I do not recommend weighted shoes, as all of my experts caution against them.

1. Walkvest

Walkvest
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The only weights I can recommend, with caution, are to add weights to your torso with a balanced weight vest. The Walkvest is nationally advertised. I like it because you can add half pound weights, from 2 to 16 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 Walkvest. But you can burn those same extra calories by nordic walking with walking poles or by just walking a couple extra minutes each session. The kit comes with a walking workout DVD.
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2. Xvest Weight Vest

A weighted vest is the only walking weight item that I can recommend. This vest allows you to add up to 40 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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3. 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.

4. Heartflex

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.

5. Hand Weights - 1 lb.

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 risk of injury to your shoulder, neck, elbow, or wrist. However, if you really want to use hand weights these are 1 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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6. Adjustable Ankle Weights

I 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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7. Adjustable Ankle Weights

I don't recommend ankle weights for walking, but I do recommend them for toning exercises after you walk. If you use adjustable weights, start with a low weight to ensure you can tolerate it without any new pain or injury. Then you can adjust it upward after ensuring you can handle it.
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