Skip the Extras

Fitness |

Many people want to boost their exercise benefit by adding hand held or ankle weights to their daily walk, run or other aerobic exercise program. As much as we would like this to be an effective workout, it is neither effective nor is it safe.

Exercise physiologists advise against using ankle or wrist weights during aerobics, walking or running. One reason they are against it is the weights slow you down, so you get less benefit from aerobic exercise. And, it doesn’t add enough weight to give you the benefits of strength training.

Exercisers, who carry lightweights while walking or running think they are building or toning muscle, but it is impossible to do so this way. To build and tone muscle, you have to use weights that you can lift no more than eight to 12 times in a row. If you can lift the weight more than 15 times then the weight is too small to stress the muscle in order to rebuild it to a larger, stronger size. As your muscles get stronger you then need to increase the size of the weight. Carrying a two-pound weight does not qualify as lifting weights.

The average weight that most women can lift to strengthen their biceps in a strength-training program is between eight and 20 pounds. Not many people would be comfortable for very long carrying weights that heavy during their walk or run. The size of weight most people need to strengthen their thigh muscles is about 40 or more pounds. It would be absolutely impossible, if not hilarious, to try to walk with that size of weight strapped to your ankles!

The real danger of using hand-held or ankle-strapped weights during your walk or run is the injuries you can sustain. When you walk or run with ankle weights or hand weights you are only promoting the pounding of your joints and muscles on the hard pavement. The heavier you are, the harder the pounding. It is a good idea to guard against injuring your skeletal system. The extra weight is not beneficial, but harmful to your skeletal system.

Walking with lightweights is a waste of time and does not boost your exercise benefit. You will get less benefit from the aerobic exercise and no benefit from strength training.

To benefit aerobically and muscularly do these two exercises separately.

Take a 30-minute walk or run and then come home and lift weights or go to the gym and do both. If you continue your weight routine quickly without stopping after your walk or run your heart rate will continue to be high, thus prolonging your aerobic activity.

You can even do a set of lifting for your biceps, then during your rest, march in place to keep your heart rate up.

Proper usage of weights and doing aerobics three to four times a week is all it takes to get into shape! So get a move on….