The Talk about Weighted Vests Continues: Why We Can’t Stop Raving about Weighted Vests

By Cameron Vázquez, MPH

We have been here at the Center for Better Bones for many years, and so have our clients! – have been praising weighted exercise vests and belts. And how not to do it? Not only does weighted exercise equipment allow us to do less and accomplish more, but numerous studies have shown that weighted vests and belts can improve strength, balance, and muscle mass, stop bone loss, and even build bone. You can see all of these studies on our blog, Weighing Weight Use: How Weight Vests and Belts Can Help You. So why are we talking about weight training equipment again? Because the research supporting weighted vests and belts continues to catch our attention!

The use of weighted vests in a Norwegian clinical trial

Another fascinating study on the impact of weighted sports vests on fracture risk factors comes from Norway. (1) This study followed 42 postmenopausal women over the age of 50 with osteopenia and a healed wrist fracture. These participants completed a 6-month exercise program called OsteoACTIVE that consisted of 60-minute sessions performed 3 times per week. The exercises performed were designed for strength, balance, coordination and core stabilization. For more details on the exercises performed and to see images, see the Original Research Article.

Weighted vests were used during the exercise. Each participant started with two 1.1 kg dumbbells (approximately 2.43 pounds) and all but 3 worked up to nine dumbbells (approximately 21.9 pounds) by the end of the program.

At the end of the 6-month program, significant improvement was seen in both hip bone density and quadriceps strength. At one year follow-up, it was found that there was a significant improvement in dynamic balance compared to baseline measurements. Here is another study (2) confirming these groundbreaking 1998 weight training discoveries.

Why We Love Weighted Vests Beyond Their Bone Benefits

With all the research supporting their positive impact on bones, it’s no wonder we endorse weighted vests. However, the benefits don’t end there! While it is incredibly important for your health, we understand that voluntary exercise is no easy task. With limited time and resources, it’s important to get the most out of your workouts – something that can easily be done with a weighted vest! A few more reasons why we love weighted vests are:

  • They’re convenient: Weighted vests can be worn to add extra weight while doing virtually anything, including housework, dancing, walking, etc.
  • Weighted vests include a progressive program: you can (and should) start slowly and add weight as you progress.
  • Weighted vests are relatively safe: there is less risk of injury due to the gradual accumulation of weight.
  • Weighted vests allow you to do less and achieve more!

We would also like to point out that while there isn’t as much research on weight belts, they are still a great option for many. You can read more about weight belts on our blog, The Weight Belt: A New Exercise Tool for Building Bones.

Prevent bone loss during weight loss.

Weight loss among overweight adults improves prognosis for health outcomes; However, such weight loss comes at a cost to the bones. When older adults lose weight, they also lose bone mass. American scientists are currently conducting a study.and combining weight loss programs with resistance exercises incorporating the weighted vest. They propose that using weighted vests along with resistance exercise will be more effective in preventing weight loss-induced bone loss than resistance exercise alone. (3)

These researchers propose that weighted vests are likely very useful for several reasons:

  • They are doable: Older adults are more likely to use a weighted vest than join a gym, learn about resistance training, or seek proper resistance training supervision.
  • Resistance training alone may not be enough to prevent bone loss related to weight loss.
  • Weighted vests during exercise can increase BMD and bone turnover, and may affect muscle power.

Therefore, the weighted vest could be a solution to prevent unnecessary bone loss while losing weight!

Better Bones Exercise Resources

Weighted vest and belt

Interested in weighted exercise equipment? You can check our weighted exercise vest and belt. here!

Webinar with Dr Belinda Beck from the Australian Bone Clinic

Have you ever been told that as a senior, it’s great to exercise, but you can’t build substantial bone mass through exercise? Dr. Brown sits down with Dr. Belinda Beck, the Australian scientist whose groundbreaking clinical trials clearly document that older people can rebuild bone mass with high-intensity, high-resistance strength training. We like to call her the bone building myth buster. Click here to see Dr. Brown and Dr. Beck talk about exercise and bone health!

Evolution of exercise with Gina Galli, RYT

Exercise Evolution is our exciting new affordable subscription program that we offer at Patreon.com. This program will include monthly videos, Dr. Brown’s learning library, a community sharing page, monthly bone-building exercise plans, access to the Better Bones diet, an exercise tracking portal, and more! This program is not only accessible, but also safe. Our goal is to create a community full of like-minded people who support each other and are ready to get out there and improve their health!

References:

  1. Hakestad, K.A., et al. 2015. Exercises including weighted vests and a patient education program for women with osteopenia: a feasibility study of the OsteoACTIVE rehabilitation program. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physiotherapy 45(2): 57-147.
  2. Shaw, J.M., and C.M. Snow. 1998. Weighted vest exercise improves fall risk rates in older women. Gerontology journals. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 53(1):M53-M58.
  3. Miller, R.M. et al. 2021. Incorporating Nutrition, Vests, Education, and Strength Training (INVEST) into Bone Health: Trial Design and Methods. Contemporary Clinical Trials 104:106326.

Am Dr. Susan E Brown. I am a clinical nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer and motivationalist. spokesman. Learn my time-tested 6-step natural approach to bone health at my online courses.

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