Some walkers and runners believe that using light ankle and hand-held weights increases the cardiovascular and strength-building benefits of their workouts. In fact, the opposite is probably true. Here's the story:

  • For a cardio workout to be effective, you need to reach and sustain your optimal heart rate. Ankle and small hand weights, although light, can be just heavy enough to slow you down and reduce your overall cardiovascular gain.

For a strength training exercise to be effective, you need to lift an appropriate amount of weight for 10 to 12 repetitions until reaching "exhaustion" (i.e., you cannot execute another rep with proper form). When you walk or run with light weights, you're lifting the weight hundreds of times with no problem, and your muscles do not experience the level of stress they need to become stronger.