There is an emerging interest in augmenting forms of less strenuous exercise in order to increase energy expenditure while maintaining the benefits of a low-impact activity. A popular means of achieving this is adding weight to the body while walking. However, previous studies to date have failed to compare effects of load placement on energy expenditure. PURPOSE: To investigate the metabolic effects of adding weight, either peripherally or centrally, on normal walking activity. It was hypothesized that load placement at the periphery would elicit greater energy expenditure than no weight or weight located centrally. METHODS: 11 female students (20.5 ± 0.7 yr) participated in a randomized study with a repeated measures design. Stature (169.1 ± 5.7 cm) and body mass (62.4 ± 5.8 kg) were collected before exercise protocol commenced. Each subject performed three walking trials (control, central and peripheral) on a treadmill at 4.8 km/h with 0% grade. The control trial consisted of normal walking without any added weight. The peripheral trial consisted of subjects walking with added weight placed at the wrists and ankles using standard exercise weights. The central trial consisted of subjects walking with added weight placed at the trunk with the use of a weighted vest. 10% of body mass was used as the weight for both intervention trials (weight was distributed evenly at the four sites (i.e. 2.5%) for the peripheral trial). Expired gas fractions were collected using a metabolic cart to determine oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and ventilation (VE) for each protocol. Heart rate (HR) was also collected throughout. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA and a Bonferroni correction were run to detect differences among outcome variables across trials. RESULTS: It was determined that there was in an increase in the following variables during the peripheral trial compared to the control trial (listed as control; peripheral, all p<0.05): VE: 18.29 ± 2.29 L∙min-1; 21.21 ± 3.59 L∙min-1, VCO2: 0.65 ± 0.06 L∙min-1; 0.76 ± 0.14 L∙min-1, VO2: 0.81 ± 0.08 L∙min-1; 0.93 ± 0.16 L∙min-1, HR: 113.30 ± 10.34 min-1; 124.11 ± 13.68 min-1 and METs: 3.75 ± 0.56; 4.30 ± 0.90. No differences were detected for all measured variables between control and central trials or central and peripheral trials (all p>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The use of added weight on the ankles and wrists is a viable way of increasing energetic demand during exercise while maintaining the benefit of a low-impact activity.

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