While exercising either around your neighborhood or at the gym, you might encounter people with a weighted vest. This can be a rare sighting for some of us. You probably imagined that only those in the army or police force would be wearing such tools. The truth is, anyone can own a weighted vest!
You will see some individuals wearing vests of various weights. Some with vests that weigh only 5 lbs while some can even weigh 100 lbs! You might be wondering why though? What are the benefits to using a weighted vest? There are quite a couple actually! Here are 6 of them.
6 Benefits to Using a Weighted Vest
Increase Your Strength
Anytime you add weight or resistance to your exercises, it forces your body to work harder than it normally does. This will require your body to recruit more muscle fibers. Overtime, the muscle fibers grow thicker. This equates to more strength.
For normal cardiovascular exercises, if you do it consistently enough without changing up the routine, you will eventually hit a plateau. Even if you did these same exercises for another year, it won’t benefit you very much. In this plateaued state, you might not notice much difference in your physique or performance. Sadly, our bodies just have this habit of getting accustomed to things. All you would be doing is maintaining your current shape.
Wearing a weighted vest will change things up and add that extra challenge to your exercises. You should start to see some differences with the added vest challenge. Even if the vest was only 5 lbs, your body would consider the same exercise as difficult because it would not be used to that weight. Be sure to do something a little different every three weeks though!
The growth of muscles seems to be directly proportional to the amount of fat that is lost with exercise. More muscles just means more calories will be burned. When you exercise, your body relies on various sources of energy and the first source are the sugars. Eventually the sugars within your body gets used up. Your next source of energy is the fat. You will feel the burn during this state. A weighted vest will help you get to that fat burning stage quicker.
Convenience of Wearing the Weight As Oppose to Holding the Weight
You know that feeling when you are holding an object while on a walk, but there is a point where you just don’t feel like holding it anymore? In fact, you probably prefer to just throw the object away at times? Some exercises just feel better to do when you are hands-free like jogging/running! A weighted vest will help you with that! With dumbbells and other weights, it does require you to hold onto some heavy objects. Of course, you do get additional benefits from doing that like forearm strengthening.
But there may be days when you might not want to hold onto anything but you still want the effects from weight training. The weighted vest will pretty much allow you to lift weights without have to hold anything. You will essentially be wearing the weight instead.
Increases Bone Density
Some people might think this tool is only for young people. This tool can actually be used by people of all ages including the elderly! Simply strapping on a very light weighted vest and walking around the neighborhood with it can do wonders! Please seek assistance for putting the vest on if you need it!
As you probably might know, after a certain age, the density within bones can become thinner and more brittle. The scariest phenomenon would be when one experiences a bone fracture as a result of a condition called osteoporosis.
Although it can sound counterproductive to use a weighted vest, it will actually do the opposite in the long run. What happens is when performing weight-bearing exercises, one will experience micro fractures. The bones are not full-blown broken but like it sounds, a VERY tiny fracture.
The body will detect that phenomenon and repair itself by filling those small breaks with more bone. As a result, the bones heal up thicker and denser. This leads to a reduced likelihood of full bone fractures and stronger bones.
Improve Confidence and Self-Image
After using the weighted vest for a couple weeks, you will start to see some benefits. As a result, you will feel more confident with your body image. Not only that, it just simply looks cool to be wearing a weighted vest.
Summary of 6 Benefits to Using a Weighted Vest
- Increase Your Strength
- Added Challenge
- Burn Fat
- Wearing the Weight As Opposed to Holding the Weight
- Increases Bone Density
- Improve Confidence and Self-Image
Although these benefits sound great, it is good to use these weight vests with caution. It can be tempting to jump right at the opportunity and go heavy from the start. You might get the most benefit out of that right? Not necessarily. Not only will you be more likely to get injured, but your body will not be used to that weight. You will most likely be exhausted quickly after initiating your workout.
Therefore, it would be good to use a lighter weighted vest for a couple weeks first. Once your body becomes accustomed to that, you can then add on more weight. You will see better results this way.
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If you really like the idea of using a weighted vest, you can purchase one here. Ideally, you want a vest that distributes weights equally on the front and the back. Otherwise, you might develop some back pain.
On that note, if you have do have back pain or any history of back injury, you may want to hold off on using a weighted vest for now. Do check with your primary care doctor to see what he thinks.
Ideas for Exercising With a Weighted Vest
- Weight training
- Body weight exercises/Plyometric (push-ups, pull ups, dips, squats, etc.)
- Cardiovascular exercises (boxing, martial arts, etc.)
Really, you can be as creative as you like when wearing the weighted vest.
Exercises You Probably Might NOT Want to Use a Weighted Vest For
- Swimming (You might not be able to swim upwards for air and the vest may rust).
- Sit-ups/Crunches (The weights attached to the back of the vest for certain brands can prevent the full abdominal exercise motion).
- Tumbling/Flipping (The vest may shift around and interfere with proper body control).
- Inverted Exercises (The vest may shift into an awkward position and drag you downwards).
- Any exercises that you do not feel comfortable with when wearing a weighted vest.
Seeing an individual wearing a weighted vest can be an interesting looking phenomenon. Without fully understanding it first, it can seem like a strange thing to do. But as you now know, a weighted vest can have many benefits. Hope you are convinced about the benefits of a weighted vest!
Did you enjoy this article on the benefits of weighted vests? What other workouts have you tried while wearing a weighted vest? Please share and leave a comment below!
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