Why You Should Try Wearable Weights?

Why You Should Try Wearable Weights?

Why You Should Try Wearable Weights?

Wearable weights are not just ordinary fitness equipment. They are actually a great substitute for dumbbells, but are they suitable for everyone to use?

Lifting free weights is not something that everybody enjoys. If you want to add resistance training to your fitness routine, wearable weights seem like a handy shortcut.  You know you can just wear them on and carry on with your routine physical activities. No hassle of lifting dumbbells or kettlebells, but let me tell you that it’s not as simple as it may sound.  Wearing weights such as ankle or wrists weights and performing physical activities are not everyone’s cup of tea, as physiotherapists mostly put limitations on obese individuals who might want to try them.

Though ankle and wrist weights have not been researched as much as other fitness equipment,  a study done on their effectiveness suggested some positive outcomes. Wearable weights may be useful in helping you to improve your walking dynamics and reduce your body fats and risk of cardiac disease. If you want them for your old man, then you'll be glad to know that ankle weights may help older people improve their knee joint repositioning. They may also be useful to improve balance if they had a stroke in the past.

This blog is going to give you detailed knowledge on these amazing fitness pieces, so if you are the one thinking about incorporating them into your workout routine, read on to have clarity of mind.

Ankle Weights

You may have seen people walking around in parks with a strap attached to their ankles.  Well, these are the weights that are usually made into a wide neoprene strap that people wrap around their ankles. These straps fasten with Velcro and are filled with mini sandbags, which means you can adjust the weight according to your need by adding or removing a sandbag.

Benefits

Increased heart rate and oxygen consumption: If you’ll exercise with ankle weights of about one to three pounds, it will increase your heart rate by almost three to five beats per minute. Not only that, but it may also enhance your oxygen consumption by five percent to ten percent.

Stronger glute muscles: If you use ankle weights while walking, it will take strength from your glutes to walk. Glute muscles connect to the hips to stabilize your pelvic area, and with strengthened glute muscles, chances of some lower back pain can also be reduced.

Increased calorie-burning: Wearing ankle weights while exercising adds up to the intensity of the resistance training, which enables 2x calorie burning. Ankle weights strengthen your muscles and improve endurance. As it is with resistance training, the building of muscles helps you burn calories even when your body is not in an active state. The number of calories you burn with ankle weights majorly depends on the factors like the length of time, quality of the weights, the intensity of exercise, and your body weight. But let me give you a heads up again that you need to be cautious and must know that you don't fall under the category of people who should avoid using ankle weights. They have the tendency to cause injury under reckless training.  

Clinical Uses of Ankle Weights

Ankle weights are effective to use clinically, and their primary job in this domain is to

If you want to know about issues one can have in walking, causes, and the possible treatments, please read the article Walking Abnormalities

A 2016 study found that using a combined ankle weight of 0.5%, 1%, and 1.5% of a subject’s body mass lowered errors in knee joint repositioning in older adults when compared to no resistance

Source:  Effects of wearing ankle weight on knee joint repositioning sense in the elderly

The study revealed that 1% ankle weight against the subject's total body mass showed better results, but that doesn't mean other groups failed to bring the desired outcomes. All weighted groups exhibited significant improvement.

Another study relevant to patients suffering from the stroke proved that the addition of three to five percent of body weight in ankle weights on the stroke-affected leg helps to improve the patient's ability to balance.

While there is no doubt that these studies are promising, I highly recommend you consult your doctor before trying any medical intervention.

How to Use Ankle Weights?

Now that you know what ankle weights are, what are their benefits both physically and clinically; let's move on to suggest to you that what can be the best possible ways for you to incorporate them into your fitness routine.

  • Choose a combined ankle weight between 1% and 2% of your total body weight
  • Wear ankle weights at least three times per week for a twenty-minute workout session
  • For improved movement quality, you can wear ankle weights while doing a slow walk
  • Use ankle weights only for a limited time to avoid injury caused by overuse and imbalances
  • Do not go beyond 3% of your total body weight while choosing the ankle weights
  • Increase the weight gradually to avoid the risk of injury

There is not sufficient scientific evidence, but it is mostly suggested by the fitness experts that the overuse of any fitness equipment can lead to an injury.

Wrist Weights

You might think that how can be wearing a strap of weight help you anyway? The truth is it may not improve your overall look, but it does make your workout challenging.

Though wrist weights are not favorable to every form of workout, but if you wear them during light cardio, the fitness benefits of the workout will be double without increasing the time of it.

Just like ankle weights, wrist weights have also created hype in the fitness industry for quite some time. Wearable weights as I've already touched upon are an easy way to raise the stakes and workout intensity to gain an overall body strength. Wrist weights are basically a wide band just like a wide strap of ankle weights, but obviously, as the name suggests, you wear them around your wrists. Just a word of caution - do not wear wrist weights weighing more than three pounds. It can put unnecessary stress on your arms and shoulders and can harm your joints.

Wearable weights share quite similar benefits, and regardless of some of the drawbacks, in case of their reckless use, these fitness tools have a rightful place in a workout. If you are not so into dumbbells, or kettlebells, wearing wrist weights will help you gain the added benefits along with your targeted exercises. Remember the primary purpose of wearing them is to enhance the resistance, thus making your workout a bit more challenging and intense. But this should not drive you crazy in terms of choosing the weight. Stay on the safe side. The American Council on Exercise proposes that you can increase the heart rate and oxygen consumption if you use weight up to 3 pounds.  This shows that 1-3 pounds of wearable weight are enough to target your muscles.

Wrist weights give you the hand-free benefits

Carrying dumbbells while performing your regular workout makes you often frustrated because you are multi-tasking, and that's not what you like. There come wrist weights if you want a little something more out of your daily workout routine without changing it much. For instance, if you are happy walking at the speed of 3mph, and you don’t want to increase the pace, you can wear the writs weights on your daily walk. They’ll provide you the fitness benefits of a vigorous walk without really increasing your pace.

How do you gain the extra benefits in any fitness scenario? Obviously by increasing the intensity of the workout with the help of weights. Unlike free weights, like dumbbells, which can spike your blood pressure, wrist weights are kind of ideal because they deliver you hand-free benefits. Plus, you are not multi-tasking consciously.

But one thing I must mention is that while they may have additional benefits for some forms of exercise like walking, but running is not one of them. The reason being, they will dramatically increase your rhythm. How? You may involuntarily move your arms more forcefully, which could lead to injury because of the added pressure on the muscles and joints of your wrists and shoulders. 

Conclusion

As I've discussed, wearable weights such as wrist and ankle weights are great to add a bit more spice to your workout, and of course, they definitely have great benefits too. These wearable weights are a fantastic fitness tool for a variety of reasons, I mentioned specifically in this blog, and they make an ideal combo with some forms of exercise. Besides, it's always a thrill to try something new and keep evolving in your fitness routine. Sticking to a monotonous workout routine not only gets boring, but at one point, the impacts start waning rather than increasing.

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