“During my daily walks down at the beach, I see people carrying small dumbbells and wearing those ankle and wrists weights as they walk or jog. I am a fairly active 68 year old woman. Will this help make my walks more productive?” Thank you, M.H in Old Greenwich, CT
In general, research has not shown significant differences in changes of body fat percentage or muscle building with walking with small hand/ankle weights or walking without weights. Research shows you would need about 20% of your body weight to create enough demand to see a statistical difference over the course of a month.
We generally do not advocate using weights with walking due to increased joint forces and impact upon the body and joints. They will also cause an increase in gait deviations and possibly lead to injuries or recurrence of old injuries.
Other options would be to walk up/down hills, walk at a faster pace, or use a weighted vest as a safer alternative to hand and ankle weights. Depending on your goal, whether it would be to lose fat, build muscle, improve endurance or get stronger you would change your workout accordingly. Generally you would only add weight to walking if your current routine is not strenuous enough and you feel your body could handle the extra weight without causing harm. Weights would then be added slowly and progressively.
Enjoy the beach!Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich and Westport CT., is a world-class provider of certified functional manual physical therapy, personal fitness, massage therapy and longevity related services. Our highly skilled team of dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care and delivering exceptional results. To learn more visit www.EliteHealthServices.