Walking is a great form of aerobic exercise. It's cheap, easy to perform and can be done almost anywhere. But should you use hand or ankle weights to enhance your aerobic performance?
Using weights will increase the amount of energy you use while walking by upping your heart rate. However, it comes at a cost. Overuse injuries could occur due to the added stress on the joints. The additional weight on your hands could lead to problems in elbow joint due to improper walking form and ligaments in you ankles could be stretched because of the added weight.
Instead of using weights to increase calories try these more efficient and less stressful tactics:
Make sure you have proper walking posture - Don't slouch as that will overwork the neck and upper back. Keep your head level by looking at the ground between 10 to 20 feet in front of you. Let your arms swing from the shoulders instead of your elbows. These tweaks will help you walk longer and faster without risk of injury.
Start slow and build up - if you're just starting out 10-20 minutes of strolling is a lot better than nothing at all. Keep this time for 1-2 weeks then add 5 minutes each week until you're up to 60 minutes. Once you've reached that level start thinking about walking faster.
Try walking faster - you should try for a step count of between 100 and 130 steps per minute. Count your steps for 15 seconds and multiply that by 4.
Walk longer - most people should get between 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Walking would fall into this category and averages between 1/2 hr to 1 hr of walking 5 days a week.
Wear your weights - if you want to increase the intensity of your walks use a weighted vest. This keeps the emphasis away from your limbs where overuse is prevalent.
There are several ways to increase the intensity of your walks without putting your joints at risk. Try them out and have fun!
Stand Up Str8 has invented a product to eliminate slouching by strengthening the muscles between the shoulder blades. Check it out here.