Does Adding Wrist Weights to Your Walk Really Give You a Better Workout?

In the present day, a fitness trend from the ’90s, known as power walking with wrist weights, has experienced a resurgence, particularly on social media platforms like TikTok. This activity involves strapping weights to one’s wrists during walks to increase the intensity of the workout and potentially build muscle in the arms.

Wearing wrist weights during walks makes the exercise more challenging, as it increases the load on the body and elevates the heart rate. This increased effort can strengthen the cardiac muscle, making daily walks more effective as a workout. A study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal revealed that heart rates and oxygen consumption, a marker of exercise intensity, were higher among individuals who wore wrist weights while walking. Another study found that wearing both wrist and ankle weights during daily activities for a short duration increased muscle mass.

However, the muscle-building effects of wrist weights are minimal due to the light load they provide. Muscle growth primarily occurs when exercise creates microscopic tears in muscle fibers, which the body then repairs. This level of stress is not typically achieved with light weights. To build stronger arms, it is recommended to challenge muscles with heavier weights through exercises that follow a progressive overload plan, gradually increasing the challenge over time.

Before adding wrist weights to walks, it is essential to consider one’s health status. Individuals with elbow or shoulder injuries, balance issues, or bone density problems should consult a healthcare professional before attempting this activity. Once given the green light, it is advisable to start with light weights and gradually increase the load as the body becomes accustomed to the additional weight. Cutting back on mileage at first and focusing on maintaining proper walking form are also crucial.

To further enhance the cardio challenge of power walking with wrist weights, one might consider rucking, which involves wearing a backpack or weighted vest to distribute the weight more evenly. However, this setup will not target the biceps and triceps specifically. It is also important to incorporate upper-body strength training exercises in addition to power walking with wrist weights for optimal muscle growth.

In conclusion, power walking with wrist weights can provide a cardio boost and make daily walks more effective, but it is essential to approach this activity with caution and maintain a balanced fitness routine that includes strength training exercises.

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