7 Safety Tips For Walking With Weights
Most experts will tell you not to carry dumbbells or wear ankle weights when walking, but the truth is walking with weights is rewarding. You just need to be sure to do it properly.
According to research, walking with weights can help you burn more calories and increase your heart rate. That said, there is risk involved in walking with weights. You might get injured, if you don’t follow the safety tips below.
Safety Tips for Walking with Weights
1. Use lighter weights.
The most common mistake among those who walk with weights is wearing too-heavy ankle or wrist weights. This strains your bones and joints.
The American Council of Exercise recommends using weights that are one to three pounds. Weights heavier than three pounds may cause injuries.
2. Maintain proper walking form.
Since wearing weights increases the risk of injury, you have to maintain proper form while walking.
First, pull your shoulders back and avoid hunching, in order to avoid straining your back and shoulders. Second, swing your arms to increase the intensity of your walks. Lastly, avoid taking very wide strides.
3. Avoid walking downhill.
Walking downhill increases the risk of injury, even when you’re not carrying weights, because you have to make longer strides. Your longer strides and the extra weight put more strain on your joints.
The best option is to walk uphill. The strides are shorter, and there’s very little impact on your joints. Most importantly, walking uphill increases calorie burn and builds leg muscles.
4. Listen to your body.
You might harm yourself, if you take the “no pain no gain” approach in your workouts.
If you suffer persistent pain and aches in joints or muscles, stop walking with weights for a while, and don’t hesitate to see a physician if the pain doesn’t disappear.
5. Don’t wear ankle or wrist weights all day.
Wearing weights all day increases the risk of injuries, since you become less aware of them. You might make a quick movement that will hurt your joints.
Only wear your weights when going for a walk, and take them off after your workout.
6. Wear ankle or wrist weights that use sand or water.
Most ankle and wrist weights contain lead and iron powder, which are not environmentally friendly. In fact, they can increase your exposure to heavy metals. Weights that contain sand or water are safer.
7. Do dynamic stretching before walking.
You need to warm up before walking with weights in order to get the blood flowing through your joints, ligaments and tendons. Try some dynamic stretches before you go walking.
Do you know other safety tips for walking with weights? Share them in the comments!
Images via Getty Images