Running With Weights in the Hands to Tone the Arms

Weights and running don't mix.
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Many types of weighted exercise gear are on the market, including small weights that strap to your hands or wrists. Running with weights can seem like a great way to tone your arms and increase the intensity of your workout, but beware. According to nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS, runners should never use weights while running. You may be able to reap the benefits of wearing weights, though, with a little prevention.

Reasons to Avoid Weights

Carrying weights can provide you with a bigger challenge and a better workout, but you can dramatically increase your risk of injury by exponentially increasing the amount of shock your ankles, knees, hips and spine must absorb with every step, Virgin says. Carrying weights around can also slow down your running speed, which will affect your progress in competitions, according to Gabe Mirkin, M.D. They also get in the way while you swing your arms, which can impede your running style.

Are Other Weights Better Than Hand Weights?

Whether you carry the weights in your hands, on your back or any other place on your body makes no difference. Wrist weights, ankle weights and weighted vests all have the potential to injure your body when you run.

Health-Saving Measures

The American Council on Exercise says that you can still use hand weights to boost your running workout as long as you take care. First, make sure that your hand weights are no more than 3 pounds. Wrist weights are also a better option because you don't need to grip them, which may increase blood pressure.

Alternatives to Hand Weights

Rather than using hand weights to increase the intensity of your run, you may want to try some safer alternatives. Virgin suggests amping up the pace of your run, running up stairs, running on an incline or running at a higher altitude to get the challenge you need. The American Council on Exercise also suggests pumping your arms while you run.

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