Is there bone building benefit to walking with ankle and or hand weights?
Walking hills or running stimulates the pizoelectric effect of osteoblastic activity but a student of mine was wondering if level walking was pointless for bone building and wanted to know if walking with weights would help her Osteoporosis. I don't have an answer to that yet. Can you help?
If I am reading this right what you are asking is in reference to Wolf's Law where bone density is directly proportional to the stress placed on it. The addition of a couple of pounds will have no bearing on her goals, but jogging/running will have a better effect as the forces of impact are much greater than that of walking with weights, better yet sprinting will increase the stress place on the skelatal system even more(of course these may be contraindicated).
If the need to add external load during locamotion is absolutely set in her mind then an adjustable weight vest would be your best be. With that being said, plain 'ol resistance training should provide the necessary stress for bone remodeling.
Same thing with shoulders and hand weights.
Continuous bouncing + rotator cuff = Ouch!
Dr. Carol Zehnacker, DPT
I wanted to give you a quick response to your question while I had a minute. There is a both a negative and positive result when walking with weights. The first would be to NEVER walk with ankle weights. In doing so, you are causing un-necessary stress to your hips if you are not walking with a proper gait. Walking with weights in your hands is completely acceptable though! On the positive side, any "weight bearing" exercise will help benefit the bones and reduce the risk of Osteoporosis. I hope that helped?
I agree that walking with ankle weights and hand weights is contra-indicated. I've seen people with wrist and elbow issues related to holding hand weights (or even, in the day, a Walkman).
Using hand weight and ankle weights certainly increases the intensity of the workout when walking, and may help increase heart rate for those who cannot run or jog, but the added weight is too insignificant to really see an improvement in bone density or bone health... better results can be had through traditional strength training.
Adding weight to the hands or ankles may also significantly alter the natural gait of the participant as well; definitely not a good idea for anyone, especially those that train intensely or competitively.
A better idea to increase intensity (without having to run) would be to add a weight vest, add incline, or perhaps throw in some walking lunges or stationary squats every "x" number of minutes/miles/etc.
Maybe for certain athletes, maybe it can be used for enhancing some performance. Will there be significant increases in performance? Not enough research. I'm more concern with the benefit/risk ratio.
Who are the majority of our clients? Athletes? probably not. More so general and special population.
As an AFAA Certification Consultant/Examiner
My advise...DON"T USE THEM FOR CARDIO.
USE WEIGHTS FOR RESISTANCE TRAININGS.
Didn't Len Kravitz do some research on this (or maybe just review it?).
Physiological responses to walking with hand weights, wrist weights, and ankle weights.
Below is a copy of the abstract. You will need to find someone who is ACSM certified and who is a member to read the entire research study.
All the Best!
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Original Investigations: PDF Only
Physiological responses to walking with hand weights, wrist weights, and ankle weights
GRAVES, JAMES E.; MARTIN, A DANIEL; MILTENBERGER, LENORA A.; POLLOCK, MICHAEL L.
To compare the blood pressure (BP) responses to exercise with 1.36 kg (3.0 1b) hand-held weights (HW), wrist weights (WW), and ankle weights (AW), 12 sedentary males (20.8 +/- 1.2 yr) completed three randomly assigned treadmill exercises at 75% maximum heart rate (HR) reserve. Systolic and diastolic BPs among HW (181.2 +/- 21.9 and 73.2 +/- 7.9 mm Hg), WW (180.1 +/- 27.2 and 71.0 +/- 10.1 mm Hg), and AW (183.8 +/- 26.8 and 71.7 +/- 7.8 mm Hg) were not significantly different (/>>0.05). When compared to exercise with no weights (NW), only the diastolic BP for HW was significantly different (+4.4 mm Hg, P
Basic weight bearing and resistance can help too but isn't as beneficial.
Ankle and Wrist weights will add more work for muscles to compensate for when jogging.
I would suggest simply jogging or HIIT training. It would most likely give better results than walking or jogging with weight.
One point I didn't read was the benefit of walking up stairs or walking up hills. Just have you clients be care as the eccentric load on leg muscles is much greater than going up. I'm sure you're aware that it's the eccentric phase of movement that is most responsible for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS.)
Unfortunately ankle and hand weights do not provide the best method to build bones.
a) Jonathan and Shay point out the drawback of weights that are too light;
the load is not enough to improve bone strength
b) Stephen and Michelle point out how the extra weight throws off a person's
gait and can cause injuries.
The weighed vest idea may work (if the person has no back industries); the stress caused by heavy weight further from the center of the boy (i.e. on the ankle or in the hand).
(Resistance training would improve bone strength. However your client seems to be bent on walking; I'm not so sure how the client will respond to using weights.)