Does Wearing Wrist and Ankle Weights Burn More Calories When Doing Aerobics?

Doing aerobics while holding weights can harm your joints.
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Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular functioning and burns fat. This is because it helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and allows you to burn through your body's fat storage to fuel the aerobic system. Since the number of calories you burn during aerobic exercise determines the amount of weight you can lose, it is natural to wonder if making the workout harder by adding weights can help burn more calories and lead to faster weight loss. While adding weight can burn more calories, doing so by wearing wrist and ankle weights can be dangerous.

Adding Weight for Aerobics

The more work you do during aerobic activity, the more calories you are able to burn. So adding weight to your body during an aerobics session can turn up your weight-loss abilities. A study conducted by exercise physiologist Dr. Len Kravitz determined that adding about 3 to 5 pounds of weight while doing aerobics can slightly increase the number of calories burned. However, the potential gains may not be worth the potential risks if you add it by wearing wrist and ankle weights.

Dangers of Ankle and Wrist Weights

Wrist and ankle weights are great to use when doing isolated strength-training exercises. However, wearing them while running or doing fast-paced movements, such as aerobic exercise, can cause damage to the joints. Swinging your arms while wearing wrist weights can harm the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Similarly, bouncing up and down while wearing ankle weights can strain your hips, knees and ankles. The dangers of adding these weights to cardio far outweighs the slight increase in the number of calories you can burn.

Other Weight Options

If you do want to add a little weight to your cardio exercise, wearing a weighted vest can be an alternative. This can help you burn a few extra calories without the risk of injury to your joints. Most weighted vests are designed to fit any torso size, but you should always make sure you purchase one that fits properly so it doesn't interfere with your body movements. You should also choose a vest that allows you to add or take away weight so you can adjust the number of pounds you carry. Start out light and only add more weight as your conditioning improves.

Increase Intensity

You shouldn't feel like adding weight is the only way to burn more calories with cardio. You can also bump up the number of calories you burn by increasing the intensity of your aerobic routine. While doing moderate aerobic activity at 50 to 70 percent of your maximal heart rate can help burn fat, vigorous aerobic activity done at 70 percent or more of your maximal heart rate burns more calories, resulting in greater weight loss, according to You should engage in at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week to gain the most benefits from this strategy.

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