How Long Should You Walk With A Weighted Vest?

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Walking with a weighted vest can offer positive results but duration matters. Discover a few rough guidelines about how long you should do this activity.

First of all, there are some rough estimations about how long you should walk with a weighted vest to burn certain amounts of calories.

Your actual results will likely look different because the calculation methods are oversimplified. Even so, they give you somewhat of an idea about the results you can expect.

An example is that a 155-pound (70 kg) person should walk about 738 minutes at 3 mph (4.8 kmh) with a weighted vest of 23.25 pounds (10.55 kg) to burn the number of calories in one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat (3500 calories).

More vague recommendations for good cardiovascular health are implementing 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity a week.

In what category walking with a weighted vest belongs depends on your personal fitness level and the weight you use.

From a more practical standpoint for beginners, you should start with regular walking first. After that, you can start wearing a light weighted vest and slowly increase the weight if that goes well.

Another option is starting by walking for short amounts of time with your weighted vest, for example, 10 minutes. If that goes well, you can gradually increase how long you walk.

How long you should walk with a weighted vest to burn calories

One of the most popular goals of wearing a weight vest for walking is burning more calories in the same time spent working out.

A weighted vest does help with this to some extent but you will still have to free up some time to see results. Exactly how long depends on a variety of details.

One small study from ACE with 13 women with an average body weight of 69.1 kg (152.34 pounds) measured oxygen consumption and in turn estimated calories burned in different conditions of walking.

These conditions included walking 2.5 mph (4.02 kmh) at different gradients with body weight, a weighted vest of 10% of their body mass (BM), and a vest with 15% of their BM.

On average, the 10% BM vest caused a 7% increase and the 15% BM weighted vest an 11% increase in calorie burning per minute.

The table below combines these measurements with estimations of how many calories burn while walking at a certain speed.

Some very rough estimations about how long people with different body weights will have to walk at 3 mph (4.8 kmh) with or without a weighted vest to burn the calories in one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat (3500 calories) are:

Weighted Vest
Weight Person
No Weighted
Weighted Vest
Of 10% BM
Weighted Vest
Of 15% BM
125 Pounds (56 kg)1,016 minutes949 minutes915 minutes
155 Pounds (70 kg)819 minutes766 minutes738 minutes
185 Pounds (83 kg)686 minutes641 minutes618 minutes
215 Pounds (97 kg)591 minutes552 minutes532 minutes
Rough estimations of how long to walk with a weighted vest to burn 3500 calories

Of course, this was a small study and the calorie-burning estimations are very rough.

You should not take the table above too seriously but it does give you an idea of how long you need to walk with a weighted vest to achieve certain calorie-burning goals.

Something else to note is that burning more calories does not necessarily mean losing weight or fat. Your habits in other lifestyle areas like your diet need to be good enough too.

How long to walk with a weighted vest for better cardio

There are benefits of walking with a weighted vest besides burning more calories too.

One of these is that you work your cardiovascular system to a larger extent (if you keep your walking speed and duration the same).

Unfortunately, it is hard/impossible to put this goal into precise numbers with the current human knowledge available.

Something that could still be helpful is the exercise guidelines for optimal health from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

  • Moving more and sitting less throughout the day
  • At least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity a week. Preferably spread throughout the week.
  • You can gain additional health benefits by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

Depending on how heavy your weighted vest is and how fast you walk, this activity could be either moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

In turn, the recommended durations per week and month vary too.

How long should you wear a weighted vest in a day?

There will also be people that consider wearing a weighted vest while walking around and doing tasks throughout the day.

Whether or not you can walk with a weighted vest every day and for how long will depend on your current fitness level.

Since this can be so different from person to person, it is hard to make any precise statements about this.

If your body can deal with it, you could theoretically wear a weighted vest the entire day (excluding sleep). On the flip side, some people should not wear a weighted vest at all.

In between these opposite ends, there is a lot of room for different durations depending on capabilities, training goals, and preferences. Again, it is hard to make any kind of precise statements about this.

Steps to get started

Since walking, even with a weighted vest, is a relatively easy workout for most people, the upper limits for how long you can do it are often high.

At the same time, you don’t want to overdo it either. Injuries can reduce how much you can exercise to 0.

Because of this, it is typically smart to start with regular walking. Potentially first for short durations of 10 minutes at a slow pace. After that, you can work up to longer durations as long as your body can deal with it.

Once you get to a point where you want to make your walking session more intense per minute, you can consider adding a weighted vest.

You can first start with a very light weighted vest and if that goes well, gradually increase the weight you use.

Another option is starting with a decent weight but walking for a short duration. If that goes well, you can slowly implement longer sessions.

What way you want to go depends on things like your training goals, fitness level, and preferences.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.