Wearing a weighted vest can make walking a more challenging workout. Find out if you can do this every day to get the most out of your vest.
Unfortunately, the answer is not the same for every individual. For some people, a routine like this is OK. For others, walking with a weighted vest every day will lead to injuries.
Walking is a relatively easy workout. There are plenty of people who carry around extra weight in the forms of muscle and body fat without (too m)any issues from the extra weight aspect.
On the flip side, injuries from challenging your body too much are a possibility too.
The main way to find out what your body is currently able to deal with is by trying movement routines out in a smart way.
You can start with a very light walking program, slowly increase duration, speed, and/or vest weight, watch out for signs of overtraining, and make your routine easier again if needed.
As your body gets stronger over time, you can again try more challenging routines in a smart way that helps you avoid injuries every once in a while.
Is it OK to walk around with a weighted vest all day?
Since weighted vests are good for walking and can offer a few helpful benefits, you may conclude that you might as well wear one throughout the entire day.
Whether or not this is OK and actually offers benefits or leads to injuries varies a lot from person to person and how much weight you use. It is hard to make any general statements about this.
On the one side, the human body is extremely adaptable.
There are plenty of people that walk around with above-average amounts of weight due to muscle or body fat without experiencing any issues (at least from the extra weight aspect).
On the flip side, it is possible that wearing a vest that is too heavy and/or wearing one for too long can be too challenging for body parts like your back, ankles, and knees and lead to injuries.
The ultimate way to figure out whether it is OK for you to walk around with a weighted vest all day is actually trying it out and stopping the experiment in time if you notice any signs of overtraining.
People who are not used to working out at all, likely want to go for one of the adjustable weighted vests for walking and start at a very light weight. Potentially for only one day a week.
If this goes well, you can consider doing this every day of the week or even month or increasing the weight gradually.
Something else to note is that walking with a weighted vest is not the only way to get more health benefits. It may also be smart to consider short and intense workouts if you are short on time.
What happens if you wear a weighted vest every day?
Let’s say you do the experiment and/or conclude that your body should be able to deal with wearing a weighted vest every day because you are physically active. What can happen?
One of the results that are easiest to put into numbers is that you will burn extra calories.
How long you should walk with a weighted vest for this purpose will depend on details like your body composition, hormone levels, and walking intensity.
However, one small study from ACE implies that wearing a weighted vest of 10% of your body mass helps you burn around 7% more calories. A weighted vest of 15% of your body mass around 11% more calories.
Someone with a body weight of 185 pounds (83 kg) would have to walk around 641 minutes (10.7 hours) with a weighted vest of 18.5 pounds (8.3 kg) at a speed of 3 mph (4.8 kmh) to burn 3500 calories (+- one pound of body fat).
Additionally, you may see small improvements in cardiovascular health, bone density, muscle endurance, and balance if you wear a weighted vest every day.
However, something very important to keep in mind is that all these effects may only happen initially.
If you never increase the weight of the vest or make any changes in other lifestyle areas, you will hit plateaus sooner or later when your body is fully adapted to the extra load.
At this point, wearing the weighted vest while walking around will still help you prevent returning to your previous fitness level. Even so, you will need to make changes to keep seeing progress toward certain fitness goals.