Using hand-weights is not the only way to tone while walking.
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Walking is an aerobic exercise you can do just about anywhere without the need for a gym membership or exercise equipment. However, you may want to increase the toning effects of walking by adding weights. When walking with weights, take precautions and adhere to certain protocols to avoid injury and effectively firm your body.
Hand Weight Cautions
Holding hand-weights while walking became popular because people believed it would help tone the arms. However, a 2002 study published in the "Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness" found that holding 3-pound hand weights while doing aerobics burned no more calories and resulted in no more muscle definition than doing the same activity without added weight. In addition, simply holding hand weights while swinging your arms back and forth as you walk can add strain to your joints and put you at risk of injury.
Rather than just holding hand weights as you walk, use them to do dumbbell presses. This will tone your arms without the risk of injury because it eliminates the swinging motion and subsequent strain on the joints. Start by holding light dumbbells in each hand at shoulder-height with your palms facing forward. Extend your arms straight up into the air keeping them parallel to your ears. Lower them back down to the starting position. Keep each movement slow and controlled.
Wearing a weighted vest is another option if you want to add weight to walking. It distributes the extra weight over your upper body and does not add weight to any swinging motion, which could strain your joints. You can do walking lunges while wearing a weighed vest to tone your legs. As you step forward, bend both knees to lower your torso. The deeper you bend, the more you engage your muscles; don't let your knee go beyond your toe or you could place unnecessary strain on your knee. Extend your knees to stand back up and bring your back leg forward so it can lead with the next lunge.
High knees are another exercise you can do while wearing a weighted vest. These can help tone the lifting leg and strengthen the support leg as it carries the weight of your body and the vest. Do these by raising your lead leg high enough with each step that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Control the movement so you can effectively engage each muscle being used.