weight vest


Can weight vest really help or can they also cause problems? Which are the best weight vest to buy? What should you look for in a weight vest?

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In our osteoporosis center, some people with severe kyphosis from compression fractures (aka Dowager's hump) are prescribed a weighted vest to help with posture as the weighted portion is only in the back. It has to be carefully fitted by a physical therapists and the weights adjusted on a regular basis. But it isn't given with any intent of increasing bone density, only to help with posture and related back pain.

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I am light weight, so I use a weighted vest because I find that it provides more impact when I do my regular marching/walking. I do start out with lighter weights and just recently added a lb or two to it. If you search this site and the web, you'll find a few discussion about weighted vest for osteoporosis. I bought my IronWear® Women’s Weight Vest from the betterbone website and really like it. There are quite a few styles on the web, but when I checked some sport stores near me, I found only ones made for men. I read somewhere that Walmart may have some.

I wonder if a wearing a backpack (not for running) weighted down using books would work.

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I assume a weight vest needs to be fitted properly not sure a back pack would do the same. I use a rebounder and though a weight vest might be good to wear with my workout & when I walk the dogs or even around the house. It might help keep me warm. I hate buying on line not known how it will feel on. The stores that carry them they seem to be for men.

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Hi Imspmem;

Thanks, I checked that site out and it looks like it is a good fit but is it hot in the summer to wear?

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Hi FernM!
I’d first get the okay from your doctor or physical therapist about the safety, for you individually, of wearing a weighted vest. If you have health issues or bone loss, work with a physical therapist or other qualified health professional before using a weighted vest or belt to make sure that you can move safely while wearing it.

There have been promising research studies* with weighted vests, but the subjects did not have bone loss or other health issues that could have put them at risk. It could be very unsafe to wear a weighted vest or belt at all if your bones are extremely fragile, if you have kyphosis, rounding of the upper spine, or balance problems, to name a few. Depending on your bone strength, wearing one could put you at risk of a vertebral fracture or fall.

With all of that in mind, here are some tips when wearing a weighted vest:

Keep excellent, upright posture with shoulders back and down. Stand tall! If it's too hard to do that, don't use the vest. When I wear mine, I have to be diligent to not slouch as I'm getting tired.

Use a vest with adjustable weights and start small.

Wear it for only a few minutes at first, gradually increasing the time as tolerated. If you're experiencing pain anywhere, don't wear it. If I wear mine too long, it bothers my lower back.

Move slowly. Your center of gravity is higher and your balance will be challenged.

In general, use a weighted vest only when standing upright and not bending over. It could put too much pressure on your muscles and spine, even if you have great posture and hinge back at the hips when you to bend down.

If you get the go-ahead from your health care provider, a National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) affiliated physical therapist suggests looking for a weighted vest that fits well through the torso and isn’t top heavy.

Her suggestions:
“There are some weighted vests that are not safe for people with osteoporosis, especially if they have kyphosis (curvature of the spine). These include vests that sit on the shoulders and only have weights on the upper part of the trunk. This could increase the stress on the spine, causing increased kyphosis. A safer vest is weighted throughout the trunk. These are especially good when they are well fitted at the waist. This should spread stress evenly around the trunk, reducing the weight from the top of the shoulders. They must fit very well, be tightened around the waist, and should still not be used if the person has kyphosis.”…or very fragile bones.

A backpack filled with books wouldn't be "...weighted throughout the trunk...", plus, it's uncomfortable.

Most often, weighted vests are usually made for men for athletic training. You'll have to shop around for a woman's size. Always keep good body mechanics and move safely.

*Links to some of the research:

From PubMed.gov
Long-term exercise using weighted vests prevents hip bone loss in postmenopausal women. 2000

Weighted vest exercise improves indices of fall risk in older women. 1998

Site-specific response of bone to exercise in premenopausal women. 2006

Please heed all of the above precautions for safer exercise!

Best of luck!--Susie

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Hi susie;

Thanks, I will check those site out. Can I ask what weight vest do you use??

I x-country ski, bike ride and walk, do not hike anymore but only because of GI problems, hope to get back into it. I also use the rebounder so even tho I have osteopenia I think as long as I add weights slowly I should be OK. I weigh 120 pds so just wanted more weight to try and build more bone density or at least slow it down.

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I have a 10# Cory Everson weighted vest. It's very adjustable, well made, fits well, has soft, gel inserts, but hasn't been available for awhile. Their last batch had a very strong odor. See review: http://www.amazon.com/Cory-Everson-10-Pound-Weighted-Pedometer/product-revi ews/B000ZT6BGS
You might have a look just so you can see the style and try to find something similar. It fits my clients of all sizes! It's amazing how much heavier I feel with only ten pounds wrapped around me! I'd better stop eating those Christmas cookies, and soon!

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Hi dxaguru;

Could you tell me which weight vest they use? Thanks

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Ironwear looks like it is about the same. On the reviews looks like someone else had the same problem with the smell. Thanks

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hi fern, i came across these sites from another thread that might be helpful and informative:




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Hi Faylou;

Thanks for the sites. I do the rebounder, that should be good for the bones. I have always been active so when I found out I had osteopinia I was surprise which told me I needed to do more in the supplement field. I have been taking Strontium and other supplement for almost a yr now but I don't think I can talk my Dr into ordering a Dexa so I have a base with the strontium. She wants me on presecription meds, not going happen, been there.

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I am currently using a weight belt, as my most loss is in the hips. My posture is still good and my spine is osteopenia. I will be adding 2 more lbs next month to make it 10 lbs and plan to go up to 16, which is 10% of my weigth. I only use it when doing walking and Curves ( making sure the weights are not on my back or front, but balanced on my sides). I do not use it for Zumba. My doctor told me to continue doing the exercise I have been doing, because I have had no fractures. Also, I tried Boniva and cannot do the drugs because of severve shooting pain. Using the the bone healthy suppliments, good diet and exercise. I do take Strontium, too.

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There's the Iron Wear vest, which seems to the type that Better Bones recommends, but that site has a lot on weighted vests and what the research says, Here's a video blog http://www.betterbones.com/blog/post/Weighted-vest.aspx

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Hi Jackie;

That is one of the better ones I think. Thanks, Fern

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Hi Fern,
My physical therapist has recommended & fitted me with a spinomed 3 vest. It may be something for you to consider. I've only had it for 3 weeks, so it's too soon to tell if it's helping. I go in for an adjustment next week. I wear it for 1 hour twice a day. My husband calls it my "straight" jacket.

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Hi Montmom;

Thanks, I will check it out. Are you from MT or does mont mean something else? In case you are I live in Msla. Fern

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Polson. We're practically neighbors!!

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@ FernM : SpinoMed

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Hi Montmom;

Small world. Looke like a storm is going hit here tomorrow & Fri. Hope it is a lot of smow so I can ski right around here. I think your vest is for support not weights. Fern

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Susie, you have given me a pause to rethink the weighed vest. I have scoliosis. Does the fall under the curvature of the spine? Thank you for you time. Kay Griffith

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