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Weight vests are becoming an increasingly popular addition to people’s exercise programs. Serious fitness enthusiasts believe a weight vest can increase your speed, strength and stamina, while also contributing to increased weight loss.

Following are a few of the different benefits to wearing a weight vest during your workout.

Helps with weight loss – Working out with added weight makes you work harder, because it takes more calories to support and move your body. Although the number of extra calories burned may be minimal, over time it adds up and results in greater fat loss. A University of Iowa study found that participants who wore a weighted vest at 10% to 20% of their body mass showed increased metabolism, intensity of exercise and skeletal load just by walking. This amounted to an increase of 14% in the amount of calories they burned.

Increased strength and endurance – Wearing a weight vest contributes to an increase in muscle strength. Working out with extra weight increases the amount of muscle you build, leading to additional strength. Plus the increased oxygen required while working out with the vest gives you greater endurance when the vest is removed.

Increased muscle and bone density – It is well known that weight training boosts bone density, which is why it’s often recommended by physicians, particularly for women and older people who are at greater risk of osteoporosis and the loss of lean muscle. Muscle mass increases and bone becomes denser when a workout is done with a weight vest.

The weight of a vest can vary, as its weight is adjustable, ranging from half a pound to 50 pounds. Just add or remove the weighted plates to get the weight vest to your desired heaviness. You should start out lighter and gradually add weight as you gain in strength and endurance.

Weight vests are useful for a number of different athletic activities, including running, walking, aerobics, push-ups and pull-ups, squats and plyometrics (dynamic jumping exercises).

Be sure to choose a weight vest appropriate to your size. It should fit snugly, but be loose enough to allow for expansion when the weights are added. Your weight vest should be tightly secured so that it doesn’t bounce, but not so much so that movement or breathing is impaired. Invest in a high-quality vest that is sturdy and well-made. Less expensive vests are available, but they wear out quickly and you will likely find yourself having to buy a new one every year.

If you are interested in losing more weight than you could during a regular workout, or increasing your strength and stamina, adding a weight vest to your workout may help you reach your goals.  Please call or visit our office if you have questions about structured programs that help improve strength, flexibility, balance and conditioning.

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