I’ve come across this question so often, “Can I Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?”
You’ll generally find the weighted vest question asked again-and-again on various fitness forums, Quora and Reddit.
Wearing a weighted vest all day is typically seen as a great way to either lose weight, burn body fat, or build muscle and strength.
So, in effect, you go about your daily tasks and hopefully achieve the body of your dreams.
But, is this actually true?
Allow me to answer the weighted vest conundrum.
Can I Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?
Wearing a weighted vest all day is not a good idea, especially if you aren’t specifically exercising. Even the simplest of tasks, such as washing up, eating meals, ironing, etc. will feel very difficult. You’re likely to get tired very quickly. Additionally, wearing a weighted vest places a lot of stress on the joints, which is why it is typically better to do it in short bursts. Therefore, you would be better off taking brisk walks or working out in a weighted vest.
1. You’re Going to Get Tired Very Quickly
When you first consider the potential benefits of wearing a weighted vest all day it actually makes a lot of sense.
Basically, you could call it a form of resistance training mixed in with endurance.
So, in effect, it should help you to burn additional calories throughout the day.
Plus, carrying extra weight around all day should help to increase muscle and strength.
I can’t say that I totally disagree, but unfortunately things aren’t that simple.
One of the main downsides to wearing a weighted vest all day is that you’re going to get very tired, and this is likely to happen very quickly.
Even the most mundane of tasks, such as doing the washing up, ironing, cooking and eating a meal is going to sap you of energy.
In essence, you’re going to find out what it’s like to weigh an extra 20, 30, or even 50lbs, depending on the weight of your vest.
And trust me when I say that it’s going to drain you of energy.
You’ll probably find that once you get past the one-hour mark things will quickly take a turn for the worse.
Sure, depending on your level of fitness, you could quite happily wear a weighted vest around the house for a few hours.
However, lethargy will definitely kick in, and this can often lead to laziness.
If you don’t immediately remove your vest, your mind will start to play tricks on you.
You’ll think of new ways to not move as much.
You may have additional lie-downs and snoozes throughout the day.
And you may even avoid doing things that you normally wouldn’t even give a second thought.
So realistically, you may find that your activity levels severely decrease from wearing a weighted vest all day.
I’m not saying that this will happen on day one, but I guarantee that your mind will start to take over sooner or later.
2. There’s a Higher Risk of Injury
Something else to consider with wearing a weighted vest all day is the stress that it puts on the body.
Let’s face facts, weighted vests were invented simply to make short bursts of activity a little harder.
Yes, there is an endurance factor to them as well, but they certainly weren’t made to be worn for 24 hours a day.
I can guarantee that after only a few hours, even with a weight as light as 10lbs, your shoulders and traps are going to be screaming.
Now, initially this may seem like a fantastic workout, and yes there are potential muscle and strength benefits.
However, it will get to the point where you’ll find that you’re sitting or walking differently simply to take some of the pressure off the shoulders and traps.
Unfortunately, it’s likely to be your lower back that’s going to bear the brunt of this.
Additionally, you’re going to place a lot of stress on various other joints throughout the day, and not just the shoulders.
Whenever you walk up and down the stairs you’ll be placing stress on the hips, knees and ankles.
Once again, I agree this is perfectly fine if you’re exercising for an hour or so.
However, it’s probably not such a great idea doing it for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Furthermore, most of us spend a lot of time sitting on a daily basis.
Perhaps, you work at a desk on a computer.
Just sitting in this position with a weighted vest on is going to put your spinal discs under a huge amount of stress.
In fact, if you’re someone who does work for 7-8 hours a day sitting at a desk you’re more than likely going to end up with a herniated disc.
I Spent 24 Hours Living With a Weighted Vest Challenge
3. Try Walking With a Weighted Vest Instead
It probably sounds like I’m extremely anti-weighted vests.
But, nothing could be further from the truth.
I own a weighted vest, and I use it on a regular basis.
However, I tend to use it for its intended purpose, i.e. exercise and activities.
One of my preferred methods of using a weighted vest is to take walks while wearing it.
I’m talking about a 45-60 minute brisk walk here.
Plus, as with most forms of exercise, leave your ego behind, start light and build your way up.
This is also why it’s better to have a weighted vest that allows you to add weight incrementally.
You could start out walking 3 times a week, for 45 minutes at a time, with no more than 5-10lbs strapped to you.
It is estimated that you’ll burn an additional 10% of calories while walking with a weighted vest.
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By the way, just in case you’re wondering whether this 10% transfers to wearing a weighted vest all day while at home, no it doesn’t.
You’re definitely not as active while at home, and you certainly never walk constantly for 45 minutes.
As I say, treat your walks much the same as any form of exercise and load up to progressively improve.
This could mean adding more weight, and of course you can also walk for longer.
Not only are you getting a great calorie burn, but remember that your shoulders and traps will be getting a fantastic workout.
Plus, you can add your upper back, your entire core, glutes, hamstrings, and even your quads and calves.
Trust me, you’re much more likely to reach your body composition goals by using a weighted vest in short bursts, rather than wearing it all day.
4. Perform Weighted Vest Workouts Instead
Finally, what a fantastic way to make bodyweight workouts more difficult.
In fact, the main purpose of a weighted vest is to allow progressive resistance for bodyweight training.
Yes, you can wear the vest when performing normal barbell and dumbbell workouts, but I much prefer the bodyweight route.
Some of my personal favourite exercises to perform in a vest include squats, push ups, pull ups/chin ups, dips, step ups, burpees, and walking lunges.
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Just these exercises by themselves can provide a superb all-round, full-body workout.
However, just imagine how much better they’ll be with added weight?
Once again, you can start out light and build your way up over time.
I can guarantee that a 35-minute weighted vest bodyweight workout will feel harder than a full barbell-loaded gym session.
I’d like to say that if you really want to wear a weighted vest all day, please be my guest and try it.
Many of the things I’ve mentioned may not be applicable to you, although I do believe it will “catch up” with you eventually.
Plus, why would you want to risk potential injury?
Additionally, you’ll definitely find that after a few days of wearing a weighted vest constantly your activity levels will plummet.
You’ll be looking for a myriad of ways to avoid even the most menial of tasks.
For me, talking walks and performing bodyweight workouts are the order of the day when it comes to using a weighted vest to its full potential.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.