I am taking a break from writing the book to share something that happens every time I get a workout in outside in a public area.
This is something I have watched and silently conversed about in my head for YEARS. When I was rollerblading last week it dawned on me to share my internal dialogue so I could share this with you and explain some basic exercise principles.
First we have to start out with your goal. I am going to write this based on assumption of some goals but know that if I knew your real goal, I might say something totally different.
I see a woman, or a man, walking down the strand with 2-10 pound weights in their hands and to date, I do not know too many reasons why I would ever say that is a smart thing to do. Here is why:
- If your goal is to make your walking or cardio harder- a weight in your hand does add extra weight but to your shoulders and arms first. It’s not very effective for your legs. The danger in this is 2 fold. First, you have your shoulder motion which is going back and forth. The weight provides resistance in gravity (that means up and down- not back and forth) so your shoulder is working hard to keep your arm attached. The muscles are doing what we call “decelerating” your increased momentum based movement. Your shoulder will get the most workout from carrying a weight while walking but I wouldn’t even call it a good workout. And this brings me to the second point of the potential danger of this exercise style. If you have not made it a point to build up ALL the muscles around the shoulder joint (chest, back, biceps, triceps, deltoids, trapezius, etc) and you lack the muscle strength to withstand long durations of force to your muscles, then you are just wearing down cartilage in your shoulder over time. You may not feel it of course but it is slowly degenerating you over time if you do not have the proper muscular strength (that was built using different exercises) to endure these forces.
- It’s ineffective! If you want to burn more calories in your walk- walk faster! Get and use a heart rate monitor so you know exactly how many calories you are burning and what your heart rate is. You can adjust your speed and intensity as you become more fit because you will see exactly when that is happening. If you want to build some muscle in your arms, choose exercises for the arm muscles you want to build. The bicep and shoulder is what will benefit the most from walking with a weight. And if you have been doing it for awhile, you aren’t even building muscles any longer because your body has adapted. I would not recommend increasing the weight.
I would recommend you review your goals and design and exercise program to specifically target your goals. Random exercise only works if you are happy where you are!