When you're looking for ways to add a challenge to your workout, sometimes the options for doing so can be limited. You can try switching courses, maybe take on an uphill run or push yourself to increase your speed. After implementing those alternatives, though, you have to start getting creative. If you've ever thought of adding an element of resistance to your run, consider the advantages of wearing a weighted vest while running.
Increases Workout Intensity
Running with a weighted vest will increase the intensity of your workout, along with your heart rate. Those two advantages bring additional benefits with them: improved leg and core body strength, increased stability, more fast-twitch muscle fibers are activated and endurance is improved. And you'll work most of your body in the bargain. "The Bottom Line Book of Total Health and Wellness" published in 2004 says that adding a weighted vest to your workout works most major muscle groups.
Better than Hand and Ankle Weights
Maybe you think the obvious way to add resistance to your run is to carry hand weights or wear wrist and ankle weights, but a weighted vest is the safer option. Weights that you carry or attach to your joints will put direct stress on your wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. They can also affect how you run, and both issues can result in injury. When you wear a weighted vest, the extra weight is balanced evenly and can even help you maintain proper posture by encouraging you to hold your shoulders down and back.
Evens the Running Field
When you're training with a runner who is more advanced than you or not quite up to your speed, a weighted vest can make it easier for you to train together. When the faster runner wears the weighted vest, it adds a challenging factor that should allow you to run at the same pace, and you'll both still get an effective workout.
Increases Bone, Cartilage and Tendon Strength
"Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" published in 2008 recommends intense weight-bearing activity to stimulate bone growth and to improve the strength of ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Running with a weighted vest is one of the activities that the book lists as being beneficial, as it provides exercise that is significantly more intense than typical daily activities, an essential factor for strengthening your bones, cartilage and tendons.
About the Author
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.