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Join Dr. McDougall along with fellow McDougallers in lively discussions and share your opinions.
GeoffreyLevens wrote:Hi Lani,
Wondering what you think about weight vests for general calorie burning and even more, improving skeletal health. I have osteoporosis and am wondering... Do you have any recommendations as to source for good one that does not cost an arm and a leg? Also, max weight to carry recommendations for a small (5'3") person. Today I weigh 107 but am shooting for around 115-120 and will add much more aerobics and maybe the vest to maintain...
p.s. also posting this to Jeff as recently read that he uses one sometimes...
AnnaS wrote:A few years ago I read about studies that used these to help people regain bone density in the spine, and it seems that results showed they worked. For instance, in:
Jessup, J.V., Horne, C., Vishen, R.K., & Wheeler,D. (2002). Effects of exercise on bone density, balance, and self-efficacy in older women. Biological Research for Nursing 4 (3), 171-180.
I read that study and my recollection is that they worked gradually UP to 15% of body weight as the maximum. (They also did other exercises.) Benefits were great but they were most profound in those with the most bone loss.
Well, I considered getting one of these gizmos, and then I decided to use a small backpack instead. My reasoning was that a) I already owned a nice little backpack so it required no extra purchase, b) the dynamics of carrying weight on your back must be sound as humans have been doing it for many thousands of years (in fact maybe that's why they had great bone density and we don't), and c) it provided training that would later come in handy if we were to do some trail-trekking.
At that time I was pretty fit, and we were walking 4 to 5 miles every evening. I found that adding just a few pounds SIGNIFICANTLY increased the workout, in fact I didn't carry the pack the whole distance (we walk in a loop so I could drop it off). I think that it's really important to start low and work up gradually. Better to do it at a lower weight than to cause strain or an injury, because if you get laid up and can't work out for a while, that's not helping your bones.
I used weights pulled from my leg-weights and wrapped them in a towel so they'd be well-padded and not bounce against my back. Make sure the pack fits you neatly so it isn't sliding around and causing you to get off-balance. I don't see why that's not just as good as an exercise vest, and you already have it in your closet!
At the same time, one of the problems with backpacks, that the weighted vest concept sidesteps, is our already problematic habit of hunching forward. This is necessary to offset the weight of a pack on the back. Forward rotation of the shoulder and rounding of the spine contributes to many postural problems.
Vegankit wrote:DH used to use a backpack stuffed with weights years ago but he switched to the weight vest that we bought in Target. It was cheap and DH has shoved in extra weight beyond the weights that came with the vest. The vest has the advantage of having the weights more evenly distributed on the front and back and it has nice wide sturdy shoulders and two strong straps that you use to secure it close to your body. He finds is more comfortable that the backpack.
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