Have you considered the “walking with weights” category of physical exercise? What are the specific details? How does it benefit you?

Walking with weights is a method of exercise in which the participant will carry hand weights to add stress to their muscles and thus burn more calories. These hand weights can be substituted by a weighted belt or vest.
How do you know if this category is right for you? How should you apply this exercise so that you optimize it for maximum performance but in a balance that isn’t counter-productive and injurious?

Below are a few steps to walking with weights that will help you make the most of your routine and be conscious of how it affects your body as a whole. Please note that any information you receive from medical publications, no matter their origin, should be discussed with your physician.

Gauge your Rate of Perceived Exertion
The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is an estimation scale recommended by physicians that gauges the rate at which you exert your body while exercising. It’s a scale based on increments of 0-10, with “0” being no exertion and “10” being your personal limit.

Keep in mind that this scale is more of a gauge than a test score. You aren’t pushing for a perfect ten in this field. You are measuring what your body will take comfortably and what it won’t. While it is suggested that you should operate on this scale at a “level 3 or 4”, make a mental note of the fatigue in arms, legs, and extremities. Take personal inventory. These numbers are relative concepts. You are the ultimate authority when it comes to gauging your own physical endurance.

Educate Yourself On the Relationship of Exertion to Overall Health

This one will take some digging. You will have to do basic research to make a usable gauge on exercises effects on the biochemical makeup. Apply this research to your body specifically. Talk to your doctor about your health status when planning an exercise routine.

Think of exercise itself in terms of something your body consumes. A well-balanced “diet” is necessary for all things you ingest, whether it be foods, medicines, or even liquids. Just as the human body has basic food groups that it needs in order to build certain local functions, it also has biochemical brain activities to “digest”. This process must be scheduled over an adequate period of time because your physiological chemicals have drug capacities that are equal to or even greater than prescription medicines like morphine.

When you exercise your body makes amino-acid based natural pain relievers called endorphins. These chemicals are responsible for the “runner’s high” feeling that some exercise participants live for. They are different in structure but similar in function to chemicals extracted from the opiate family. While a high level of these drugs is a good thing, and can lead to general higher levels of happiness, overexertion can abuse the balance of their levels.

Dr. James O’Keefe of St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City was quoted as saying that while exercise is not a drug by itself it produces the same effects as strong pharmacy products. Consider this carefully. What happens when you abuse opiate products? What are the side effects? An opium addict will take increasingly higher dosages to create the desired euphoria, but after the body processes these chemicals it’s left burned out, naturally depleted, and sapped of its natural function. Mayo Clinic has done studies that show that prolonged overexerting exercise can lead to a strain that will permanently damage the cardiovascular chambers of the heart. You will have to make educated estimates using the above RPE system and other research to find what is a good range for you to maintain without washing your body out chemically.

Stretch to Your Limits and Honor Those Limits

woman-looking-at-sports-watchHealthy exercise is done in a well-balanced cycle. The weights you carry must be a good medial weight for your specific muscle density. Not only should you carefully consider the base weight that you are able to carry without strain, but also you should consider the duration of the push-pull routine exercises you undergo.

When you repeatedly force your body to complete pushing and pulling tasks to the extreme after you already sense a strain, you put yourself at risk of degenerative wear and fissures in the muscle tissue. These muscular deficiencies are also related to the overall health of your bone structure and over time can develop into what are called Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s). When planning a walking with weights exercise routine, schedule yourself a time limit and stick to it. The Mayo Clinic recommends the average person factor in 150 minutes weekly of moderate exertion exercise time. When divided by seven that equals roughly 20 minutes of exercise a day. Don’t schedule vast additional minutes right away. Even after you’ve built up overall strength and resistance to endurance, you still have to think about your muscles in a material sense. Unrealistic exercise goals might be doing you more harm than good. Talk to your doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions. You may require even less.

Think About Posture and Your Feet
If you’ve ever had a sprain, you understand how this rule applies. Healthy walking requires good posture habits in order to be beneficial.

When performing muscle stretches, maintain fluidity in the stretches you take. Consider how you carry the weights you’ve attributed to the exercise as well. It will vary depending on your needs. If you have weak knees or are predisposed to abdominal pain/ irritable bowel syndrome, a weighted belt might not be for you. Substitute it with hand weights instead. But you might be an individual that suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Substitute this condition by wearing the weight as a vest. You might suffer from chronic back pain, or have plates out of alignment. For some individuals, making a fist and swinging your arms back and forth alone is an alternative to carrying physical weights. The only thing that fitness trainers advise against is walking with ankle weights. Doing this will cause a serious strain on your knees during the routine. Let your body communicate its individual needs to you. Don’t compromise your unique physicality for a slim frame.

Consider also the proper footwear before undertaking the walk. Some shoes are specifically designed to help increase your posture as you perform exercises. If you looked through the above list of substitutes for carrying weight in certain parts of your body and couldn’t find one, there might still be a chance that you can undertake walking with weight routines. Consider purchasing a pair of walking shoes with light weights built into the heel for added flex work.

Gauge Your Exercise Lung Function to Prevent Exercise-Related Respiratory Problems
The importance of keeping a gauge of your RPE cannot be stressed or practiced enough during your weight-walking routine. Exercise directly engages the respiratory system. If you have asthma or related upper-respiratory system disorders, you should consult your physician before aerobic exercise options before you engage in an exercise plan. There have even been some rare cases of anaphylaxis as a result of heavy exertion during exercise.

Consider taking a lung function test before you assign yourself a specific work-out routine. The most common of these tests is done using a spirometer, which engages a mechanism that measures the amount of air you can pump via your lungs when you breathe into a mouthpiece.

Please note that while you may have passed one of these lung function tests and received physician clearance for exercise, certain conditions still apply. Your lungs can be affected by exertion and allergens in the environment you’ve chosen to perform your routine. Use this RPE scale to measure the strain on your lungs as well as the straining sensations on your limbs.

Best Performance Procedures For Walk:
Start off with a pre-work out stretch that gently and gradually increases blood flow to your muscles. Do this without holding or wearing the weights to avoid injury in the process.

It is recommended that as you walk, slowly lift and lower handheld weights to your side. You can substitute this by wearing weights or holding certain weights in cupped palms in front of your body, all the while maintaining a tall, flexible posture. Alternatively, make your hands into fists and pump them into the air in front of you in gradual, moderately repetitious motions back and forth at the side of your body. Continue at a gradual pace without long pauses between the function. Gradually slow the pace of your walk as you end the session, to allow for time to cool down.

Results of a Well-balanced Walking With Weights Routine:
Now that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions and made the best choices based on the scale at which you rate your own exertion levels, you’re ready to begin your routine. What will the outcome of this be if you should put it into practice?

Like a well-balanced diet, a well-balanced exercise affects the whole body. When released properly, endorphins will naturally treat pain and stress as well as prescription drugs can. For this reason, exercise can be attributed to helping heal symptoms of mental illness.

Because well-balanced exercise increases the heart rate, it can also be attributed to improved circulatory health. This, in turn, will improve skin health as good circulation feeds the skin cells and improves their overall growth and function. Because of the balance of endorphin levels, stress hormones which irritate skin disorders are also broken down and dissolved into the body’s chemical structure.

Well-balanced exercise can also be attributed to a healthy sleep cycle. Research has been led to believe that this is due to the body temperature drop induced post-exercise which might help in the process of falling and staying asleep.

Exercise has also been attributed to memory health. A recent study at the University of British Columbia has shown that exercise is now believed to boost the hippocampus, which is the center of the brain that processes memory functions associated with speech and learning.

Exercise also influences greater health in the endocrine system, i.e. the gland functions of your body. Exercise helps glands to release the hormones they contain, some of which regulate blood pressure health. For example, adrenal glands are engaged in moderate-stress exercise and release a hormone called aldosterone. This hormone will improve hydration as well as assist in breaking down and properly using carbohydrates. The adrenal medulla also releases a hormone called epinephrine which increases the amount of blood your heart pumps.

There really is no end to the benefit that exercise can have on your entire body and lifestyle as a balanced whole! Make well-balanced choices. Be safe, be happy and be well!