If you’ve been looking for a way to up the efficiency of your daily walks, then you might want to consider wearing a weighted vest.

Walking is an easy way to burn calories without exercising your body too much. If you add some extra weight to the equation, you have an essentially free way of boosting your performance.

To come up with the benefits listed in this article, we consulted various credible sources from around the web. Additionally, we’ve also considered numerous personal accounts of individual experiences and results.

So for those of you interested in upping the intensity of your walking routine, here is a list of the weighted vest benefits.

Why Walk?

There are various potential reasons a person cannot partake in intense physical exercise.

It could be that they have an underlying health condition or are simply too old to do anything high intensity. Some heavier people also may have trouble breathing while running too hard. So, they turn to walking to help them lose weight.

Still, while walking encourages weight loss, it can only get you so far. According to the Healthline calories burned calculator, a 180 lb person will only burn about 270 calories for an hour of walking. This point makes it highly inefficient compared to other forms of exercise.

An excellent way to increase the intensity of a walk without putting too much strain on the body is to wear a weight vest.  

Walking With a Weighted Vest

Now that we’ve discussed why someone might consider adding a weighted vest to their walks, here is a list of some of the benefits of walking with a weighted vest:

Good For Cardiovascular Health

One of the best things you can do to increase your overall cardiovascular health is to walk with a weighted vest.

Walking routinely can help lower blood pressure, regulate cholesterol, and increase insulin sensitivity. Adding more pressure (a weighted vest) will help put more strain on the muscles and thus increase these benefits. It will also help with your cardiovascular endurance.

Keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy is the first step in improving overall health, and you should never overlook them when trying to improve your quality of life.

Builds Strength

Building strength means strengthening your muscular endurance. Muscles can get stronger by continuously breaking them down and encouraging new myofilaments to grow in their place.

Walking is a great moderate form of exercising but it doesn’t foster muscle growth. When you add weight that isn’t part of your overall BMI, your body has to adjust to that load and carry that weight inadvertently.

As you exercise with that weight, your core strength increases over time, and you’ll see an overall improvement in strength. You’ll also be able to further build muscle by adding weight and walking faster.

If you’re looking for pure strength training, there are more efficient ways of doing that, such as calisthenics. Weighted vest walking is more for people who want to maintain strength as they get older or want to see subtle yet effective increases in strength.

Increases Endurance

Increasing endurance is the cumulative result of combining strength training and cardiovascular health. You need muscle strength to carry your body load for a prolonged period of time. Likewise, you need a strong cardiovascular system to pump blood throughout your body consistently.

The weighted vest will help you in two ways here.

It will first aid muscle growth and cardiovascular performance. Even just walking may help increase overall speed, endurance, and cardio capacity.

A weighted vest will also help you mentally because you will feel lighter when you take it off. You won’t physically be lighter, but this mentality may help you explore the upper limits of your body.

Strengthens Bone Density

Bone density is essential, especially as you grow older. Having denser bones will increase overall strength and help prevent injury. 

Increasing your bone density works similarly to how you grow your muscles. The more you work with them, the stronger they become.

One of the best ways to work your bones is simply by walking. As you move forward, gravity puts pressure on your body and bones, forcing them to work harder. With the addition of a weighted vest, the strain will increase.

How this works is when you put stress on your bones, it creates a bunch of microfractures. While these microfractures are harmless and painless, they will heal over time, and the bone will become stronger than before.

Lose Fat/Weight Loss

The harder your body works, the more calories you burn. The more calories you expend, the more fat your body will use to compensate for the usage of energy. It’s that simple.

Walking, in general, is a pretty nice way to lose weight and stay active throughout the day. But the issue is that your body doesn’t really work that hard when walking. As a result, the calories burnt are minimal and you won’t see much weight loss.

If you’re walking at a 2-3 mph rate, then your heart rate is likely staying at a steady rest pace. And that’s where the weighted vest comes into play.

You won’t have to give up the undemanding exercise of walking, but you’ll be able to slightly elevate your heart rate to a working pace and force your body to work a little harder.  You’ll also be able to increase calorie burn and work your core muscles.

Increase Balance

Balance helps you move more agilely and enables you to stay away from injuries. 

When you’re wearing a weighted vest, you’re increasing your core strength. The core is the root of all of your body’s strength and where a majority of your balance comes from.

If you have a strong core, then it’s likely you have a good balance as well.

Helps Improve Posture

Most people are at risk for bad posture in their daily lives. It could be a result of slumping over all day in an office chair, or maybe it’s just a bad habit.

Wearing a weighted vest may actually aid in correcting this. As we previously mentioned, you’re increasing your bone and muscle strength. This will inadvertently help you hold yourself up to better and promote a more healthy posture.

Keep in mind that wearing a weighted vest may also hurt your posture as well. If you have a condition such as scoliosis or osteoporosis, then a weighted vest may do more harm than good. If you’re unsure, consult your doctor before using one.

Don’t Overdo Weight Vest Walking Workouts

While adding a weighted vest can have all the benefits we previously mentioned, we firmly recommend not wearing one every day.

Weighted vests can cause strain on the joints (specifically in your shoulders and back) and weaken them over time, causing them to become brittle and more prone to injury.

Furthermore, while it can be beneficial to your bones, the added weight can also put too much pressure on the spine and cause health issues if you overwork your body.

What Makes a Good Walking Vest

When choosing a good vest to walk with, there are a few important points to consider.

Adequate Weight

Make sure your vest is between 15 – 20 lbs to start. You won’t don’t want to start too heavy and risk injury.  Just start with small weights in the beginning and work up.

You can gradually add more weight as your body adjusts.

Comfort

Make sure the vest is comfortable and fits well. You’ll want to make sure it’s on correctly so that your workout is most optimized and all your muscles activate.

Flexibility

The vest should be agile and promote a full range of motion when moving. A vest that forces your movements to become stiff could be detrimental to your body’s wellbeing and health.

Quality

The final thing you’ll want to look for in your weighted vest is quality. You don’t just want to get the cheapest one on the market and have it rip the next day.

Look for a waterproof vest made of quality material that’ll hold up for quite a while. 

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