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Walking With a Weighted Vest: 7 Benefits for Your Fitness Journey
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Walking With a Weighted Vest: 7 Benefits for Your Fitness Journey

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 4, 2023
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6 min

Adding extra weight increases the intensity of your workouts. Many people add wrist and ankle weights to enhance everyday activities, but what about a weighted vest? We discuss the advantages of weight vest training and how it can benefit your body during exercise.

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A weighted vest is a form of weighted clothing. The garment contains heavy materials that immediately increase your body weight. The added weight is evenly distributed across your torso, creating resistance and an increased challenge to various physical activities.

You might initially find the idea of weighted vests intimidating, but these purposefully designed garments are not just for athletes. Anybody can wear a weighted vest to boost their fitness routine or enhance daily tasks, such as walking and running errands.

If you want to add variety to your body weight sessions or you want more of a challenge during daily walks, you might like to try wearing a weighted vest. This article explains the impact of these vests on your overall health and determines if they can aid muscle building.

Does Walking With a Weighted Vest Build Muscle?

Yes, walking while wearing a weighted vest can help you build muscle. A weighted vest increases your body weight, and the added weight forces your muscles to work harder than normal. During this process, your muscles begin to adapt, grow, and strengthen.

Weighted vests provide a form of strength training that is well-known for enhancing muscular adaptations by increasing muscle strength, size, and endurance. Most people who are looking to build muscle mass include a form of strength training in their exercise.

A weighted vest offers an alternative to lifting weights at home or in the gym. It serves as a convenient tool that you can wear at any time to enhance exercise and support muscle building. You could wear it on a daily 2mi walk or during a long run for an extra challenge.

If you want to know more about the health benefits of walking in general, you can check out Walking.Diet. Walking.Diet is a weight loss program that offers users a personalized exercise plan. You can benefit from a thorough guide to walking, with warm-up exercises, breathing techniques, and helpful information on body positioning and holding proper form.

Walking.Diet
Walking Plan for Weight Loss
  • Offers walking training plan
  • Provides warm-up and cool-down workouts before and after walking workout
  • Includes KETO desserts cookbook
  • Offers the articles about food and nutrition, walking gear
Our rating:
4.6
Get Your Personalized Walking Plan

7 Benefits of Walking With a Weighted Vest

Now you know that wearing a weighted vest can aid muscle gains, you might wonder what else it can do for you. A good quality vest can significantly impact your walking experience, whether you want to lose weight, improve body composition, or strengthen your heart health.

Here are 7 more benefits of weighted vest training.

#1 Improves bone density

Performing activities while wearing a weighted vest may help stabilize bone density and may even increase it. In older adults with obesity, wearing weighted vests daily can reduce the loss of hip bone density and increase bone formation while promoting weight loss.

#2 Burns more calories

A weighted vest increases calorie burn because your body must work harder to carry the extra weight around. This is a bonus for people who are trying to lose weight, as burning more calories than you take in is essential for creating a successful calorie deficit for weight loss.

So, slipping into a weighted vest while walking will burn more calories than walking without one, and you will soon notice the increased calorie burn and changes in your weight with regular walks.

#3 Strengthens muscles

Among the most important benefits of a weighted vest is that it increases muscle strength. While supporting the development of lean muscle mass, it will also keep your muscles strong and healthy. That’s because your muscles must transform in order to maintain the extra weight.

Walking, in general, helps build and tone muscles, but you can expect further gains from the added weight of a weighted vest. It is vital to keep your muscles strong and healthy. Doing so enables you to continue doing the activities you love while preventing future health problems.

#4 Improves balance

You might think a weighted vest will make you topple over, but the additional body weight can promote better balance. When the weight is equally distributed across your body, it provides proprioceptive input, which is associated with the internal sense of body position.

The more weight you add, the harder your joints and muscles have to work to keep you standing upright. The weighted vest will help straighten your spine and muscles in the back. So, if you have problems with balance, a weighted vest could aid improvement.

#5 Increases explosive power

Explosive power is the ability to exert all your strength in the shortest time possible. Various exercises require explosive power, such as squats, push-ups, and sprinting uphill. Weights, including a weighted vest, can increase explosive power and overall strength.

#6 Increases endurance

Weighted vests have long been used to increase endurance. They impact how your muscles handle stress and strain during exercise, forcing them to adapt and strengthen. Walking with a weighted vest increases your breathing and heart rate to promote cardiovascular health.

Building endurance makes it easier to handle many everyday tasks. You can start slowly and add weight gradually to build up your endurance over time. You could also gradually increase the length of your walks while wearing your weighted vest to maintain progress.

#7 Improves walking posture

Walking with a weighted vest will help you improve your posture. The added weight on your upper body forces you to engage and stabilize various muscles to keep you upright and balanced. It keeps your core engaged at all times, promoting strong abdominal muscles.

The Walking.Diet program can assist you in mastering your posture and form while walking your way to better health.

What Are the Possible Downsides of Walking With a Weighted Vest?

Weighted clothing has many advantages, but that doesn’t make it the ideal choice for everyone. Whenever you add weight to your exercise regimen, there are some essential safety elements to consider. Never wear a weighted vest without assessing the drawbacks.

There are 2 main downsides to consider before purchasing a weighted vest.

#1 Increases pressure on the spine

While a weighted vest can have wonderful perks for your posture, it can also have adverse effects. The weight sits on your shoulders and upper body, putting direct pressure on the spine. It may cause the intervertebral discs to compress, causing pain and potential injury.

If you’re new to wearing a weighted vest, it is critical to start small. Begin with a lighter vest before gradually increasing the weight plates as your body strengthens. A good rule to ensure safety is to opt for a weighted vest that is no more than 10% of your body weight.

A weighted vest, or any wearable weight, is usually not recommended for people with neck or back problems. It is too risky, as the added pressure can worsen existing issues and may cause vertebra compression, back and shoulder injuries, and pinched nerves.

#2 Increases the probability of injuries

There is always the potential for injury when using a weighted vest. It can add significant pressure to certain parts of your body. As discussed, it can cause compression of the intervertebral discs. It can also cause muscle soreness, especially if worn for long periods.

To minimize the risk of injury, try to ensure that the weight in your weighted vest is evenly balanced on the front, back, left, and right. You can also reduce risk by building up the weight slowly over time. If you feel pain while wearing your weighted vest, take it off as soon as possible.

A Word From Our Coach

We all want a new challenge from time to time, and a weighted vest can be the ideal solution if you wish to revamp your training. A weight vest is an excellent fitness tool that will help you burn more calories, strengthen your bones, and raise your endurance and explosive power.

For those who don’t find walking particularly invigorating, including a weight vest can have a profound impact. You will immediately feel the difference when walking in a weight vest, even with a small load, because you work against more than your body weight.

The great thing about walking is that you can do it any time. The morning is generally the best time for walking to lose weight, as it can kickstart your metabolism and help you burn more calories. However, you can still enjoy many health benefits from an evening walk.

You could also uplift your routine by combining your weight vest with different styles of walking. For example, nordic walking requires the use of poles to activate the upper body muscles, while hiking is a form of long-distance walking that takes you out into nature.

Walking is not the only exercise that can benefit from a weighted vest. You can also wear a weighted vest during other cardiovascular activities like running or to heighten the challenge of popular bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, deadlifts, lunges, and planks.

Always talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you are thinking about using a weighted vest. A consultation is especially important if you are new to using weights in your routine or exercising of any kind. You must give yourself the best possible chance to avoid painful injuries.

Conclusion

Walking is a beneficial exercise for everyone, and walking with a weighted vest is the perfect way to boost your walking regimen. It offers a physical and mental challenge to increase bone density, ramp up calorie burn, build lean muscle, and raise your cardiovascular fitness.

Remember, you can try Walking.Diet to get the most out of walking. Whether your goal is losing weight, toning your legs, or improving your overall physique, walking regularly can help you get there. Furthermore, adding a weighted vest to the mix can noticeably speed up results.

Walking.Diet
Walking Plan for Weight Loss
  • Offers walking training plan
  • Provides warm-up and cool-down workouts before and after walking workout
  • Includes KETO desserts cookbook
  • Offers the articles about food and nutrition, walking gear
Our rating:
4.6
Get Your Personalized Walking Plan
Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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