Here's a present I gave myself last Christmas - a pair of wrist weights.
I've been using the balance stepper for quite some time now. I've switched to this exercise mostly because it's been too cold to swim. In the past few weeks, it has been windy especially in the afternoons.
What are Wrist Weights
Wrist weights are inexpensive exercise tools that help strengthen and tone the arms, shoulders and back. You can wear them while doing cardiovascular exercises, like walking.
Wrist weights come in different weights and some are adjustable. The encased weight in wrist weights is usually sand or iron fillings. You wear them around the wrist and fasten them with Velcro straps. Some are small and can slip over your hand.
Benefits of Wrist Weights
- Increased intensity
Research shows that the use of extra weight on the arms or legs while walking can add to the calorie expenditure. In one study of walking with walking sticks, calorie expenditure increased by an average of 23% compared to walking without the sticks.
Wrist weights are particularly useful for people with arthritis or hand injuries that may have a difficult time holding onto dumbbells or barbells. Dropping a weight could result in injury, but wrist weights are unlikely to come off during exercise.
Safety of Wrist Weights on the Balance Stepper
I've been using the balance stepper on and off for several years now and mounting and dismounting from the equipment requires good balance. This is especially so if your knees aren't as strong as they used to be.
I wanted to increase the intensity of the exercise for the upper body and have thought of add-ons like rubber bands or dumbbells while doing the stepper. I simply concluded that it will be unsafe to do so.
The wrist weights on the other hand frees the hand to grasp on to something should I lose balance on the stepper.
There is also no danger off dropping the weights as they're securely fastened around the wrist. It is best to remember to position the wrist weights so the Velcro straps on both wrists don't rub against each other while doing the arm motions.
Doing so may accidentally unfasten the weights.
Progression of Weights
The wrist weights I bought are relatively light and cheap at Php186. I believe they're the lightest around at 1 pound each. I'm just careful to use light weights initially to prevent injury.
As I mimic the various swim strokes, the light weight ensures the shoulders don't strain too much especially in the explosive phases of the strokes.
When the shoulders become stronger, I'll increase the weights by replacing the one I have with another pair, maybe a 1.5 pounder. And to increase further, wear both pairs of wrist weights for a total of 2.5 pounds.
I doubt I'd need anything heavier than 2.5 pounds though. The extra weight has the potential to throw off the natural stroke. And where the forces are magnified, this increase the risk of injury to the joints, or at the very least cause neck and shoulder strain.