Running with Weights

by Sam Malone

Running is an effective and common method of fitness training and exercise targeted at weight loss. Running and weight training complement each other. During the act of running, the body is strained by its own weight and the energy required for transporting that weight in a forward direction. The other factor that determines the load on the body is the slope of the running route. An upward slope naturally requires more energy. A common practice to enhance the load on the body during running is running with weights. The weights used in this sense are exercise dumbbells and specialized weights such as wrist or ankle weights that one might find in a sports shop. The theory behind using this form of exercise is the logic that an increase in weight demands an increase in energy consumption. This helps to burn more calories, build up more muscle and further improve stamina.

When running with weights there are a few factors that one must keep in mind. There is no proof that running and lifting weight simultaneously increases the effect of either action. The added weight of the dumbbells may help to raise the load, but that is the only real benefit. There is no extra effort required by the arms, meaning that this form of exercise does not provide extra muscle building on the arms.

When running with weights in hands, one should make sure that one is maintaining the same speed and covering the same distance. The aim of adding weights is to increase the energy consumption, not reduce or maintain it by altering speed and distance. This general rule of thumb applies to running with wrist weights and running with leg weights as well.

A final and important rule for running with weights is the maintenance of normal body equilibrium. If the weight is unevenly distributed, or if one hand is weaker than the other, the body may contort its shape in order to support the side that is under extra strain. This is not helpful as it means that the body will be exerting more on one side than the other. This imbalance could affect the quality of the exercise experience as well as lead to possible injuries.

On a side note, it may be advisable to have the weights in some sort of brace so that they do not fall out of the hands while running. Apart from these points, there should be no real hindrance to running with weights. 
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