Hey Angels and Alphas,
Learning how to walk is going to be the biggest “fitness milestone” you’ll achieve in the first few years of your life. When this activity becomes habitual, it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, exercise. The AHA, or the American Heart Association, calls it the easiest and simplest way to get and stay active.
Some research done back in 2009 published in the Harvard Health School newsletter points out that even though walking is an essential human function, modern man has determined to walk as little as possible.
As walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise, if you start walking so you can improve your fitness, you might be tempted to start using weights to make the activity more challenging.
And many athletes use walking with weights as a way to add strength and balance to their core. However, carrying weights might potentially be doing more harm than good. Let’s talk about what you should do instead.
THE PROS AND CONS OF WALKING WITH WEIGHTS
Even though you might think walking is something we do every day, walking routines are a legitimate form of exercise. When out and about, you may have actually seen some people in your neighborhood or park walking while carrying a set of weights.
And you might have even though it’s a practical way to add strength training while getting in cardio. But because these are completely separate types of exercise, it might be in your best interest to treat them as such.
When you do it right, walking is an effective, low-impact exercise. It’s not, however, really efficient for burning calories. And while adding weights will definitely increase the number of calories you burn, walking with weights will tend to increase your risk of injury and cause unexpected side effects such as back pain or an increase in blood pressure.
Carrying weights while you’re walking might cause postural imbalances and put a lot of added stress on your neck and shoulders. During any single walk, this may not be much of an issue, but over time, this can add a lot of extra stress to your joints. If you choose something like ankle weights, you can be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on your knees and ankles.
THERE ARE GREAT ALTERNATIVES TO WEIGHTS
You can still incorporate strength training in your workout – and it will have nothing to do with carrying weights. Changing up the terrain or surface where you’re walking can help you work different muscles and make your workout more challenging.
If you want to boost your workload, simply add some incline to your treadmill or find another hill where you can hike. If you want to include some weight training after your workout, that’s fine, just make sure to do it separately and not mix the two together.
Doing a separate strength-training routine will be one of the best ways to ensure you’re walking your muscles correctly and minimizing your chances of injury. To make the most out of any routine, you can seek the help of a coach or trainer so you can make modifications and ensure you’re performing exercises with correct form and posture.
The bottom line is, weight training is a much better alternative to walking with weights.
To wrap it up…
When it comes down to it, the majority of trainers out there will agree that you don’t need to walk with weights. It will always be best to focus on strength training and cardio training separately so you can be as efficient as you can be with your training.
It’s really not necessary to use ankle, wrist, or hand weights while you’re walking. You will benefit from adding more supplemental weight training and keeping it separate from your walking routine. And if you’re just starting out with your exercise program and haven’t been active for a while, using weights will add unnecessary stress to your joints.
Before you start out your program, make sure you have clear fitness goals and that what you’re putting in aligns with the goal you’re trying to achieve. You’ll probably find that walking with weights ends up hindering your progress.