Can You Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?

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Weighted vests can make a great addition to your training routine. But what about wearing a weighted vest during the day? Can you wear a weighted vest all day?

There is no doubt that a weight vest can add the much-needed resistance if you do bodyweight-only workouts, for example. However, some people also argue that wearing one throughout the day can make you stronger, more agile, faster, you’ll lose weight faster, and gain muscle at the same time.

Is any of that true?

Can You Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?

Yes, you can wear a weighted vest all day. You can use it during your everyday activities such as walking, doing chores around your house, and even running or working out.

Some people have tried it and it had great results for some. Some of the most commonly mentioned improvements included:

  • Better posture
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle gain
  • Feeling lighter without the vest

Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about wearing a weighted vest all day. And the truth is that there is no be-all, end-all solution for everyone in the world. Everyone has different needs and wearing a vest for someone that’s overweight is not the same for someone who’s fit and in tip-top shape.

So it’s better to rely on scientific research to get a more conclusive answer to this question. Luckily, this study by Timo Ratalainen deals with exactly this question – can you wear a weighted vest all day.

To get the results, the study analyzed eight average male subjects (age 32, weight 81kg) wearing a weighted vest all day compared to a control group of nine males with the same specifics, just without the vest.

And the results?

The study found that wearing a weighted vest throughout the day did have some benefits for the men wearing the best for all of their daily activities compared to the control group. The bigger improvements were in the agility department. However, the benefits of wearing a weight vest throughout the day were minimal.

The study concludes that the best way to utilize the weighted vest would be during workouts, where the biggest improvements were seen with the weight vest group. It also argues that if you are to wear it during the day, you will do better to use a vest with 5-10% of your bodyweight to see those minor improvements.

The conclusions, therefore, are the following:

You can wear a vest throughout the day, but you’ll only see minimal improvement instantly and in weeks. It’s better to start with a low weight (5-10% of your body weight) and perhaps move on as your joints need time to adjust to the weight (it’s like having 10-15 extra kilos)
The best effects of wearing a vest are seen when you wear it during workouts
Wearing a weighted vest throughout the day should be done gradually and proportionately to your weight, training experience, age, and gender

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Weighted Vest all Day?

Wearing the weighted vest all day can have some nice benefits for you if you do it properly. Here are some main ones you can expect to experience.

1. Improved Posture

If you’re struggling with your posture, then wearing a weighted vest might help you. With the added weight, your joints and muscles will have to adapt. And this is especially notable when you’re using the vest for walking, for example.

However, if you really want to improve your posture with a weighted vest, then you should mind your posture in the first place. The best way to do this is to constantly watch yourself during the day if you have good posture and to stand up and stretch if you have a sedentary job. Here are some checks to make for good posture:

  • Make sure your neck is straight and not bending forwards – imagine as if someone’s pulling you upwards
  • Your shoulders should not be protruding forwards – instead, make sure you lean backwards and squeeze your shoulder blades – but don’t overdo it!
  • Keep your belly tucked in and your butt as well. You can do that by squeezing your abs and glutes as you walk/stand/sit
  • Keep your legs straight and make sure you don’t bend them as you stand

2. Weight Loss

Using a weighted vest during your daily activities can result in more calories burnt, and as a consequence, weight loss.

Wearing a weighted vest when you’re walking is an especially effective technique for weight loss. So if you’re struggling to lose weight, you can certainly try it.

A Reddit user reported that they wear a vest for brisk walks and that they lost some weight during that time and they saw their neck size increase…

3. Strength Gain

Because your body will have to carry some extra weight, your muscles and joints will have to adapt. You might even experience some muscle fatigue and tiredness, as well as soreness in the first few days of wearing the vest all day.

This also depends on your training levels. If you’re someone who hasn’t trained in a while, then wearing a vest all day will do more for your strength that to someone’s who’s already in good shape. If you’re well-trained, then you’ll probably not see any effects in terms of strength.

4. Improved Training Performance

Arguably the biggest benefit of wearing a vest will be during your workouts. That’s especially true if you do bodyweight-only workouts. For example, you can do weighted pull-ups, or push-ups, and other exercises.

This is an area that will see the biggest benefits of weight vests. But even if you don’t work out, you’re bound to see some nice benefits in just a few days or weeks.

5. Improved Agility

Wear your weighted vest when you go out for a walk or run, and you’re bound to see some improvement in terms of agility and conditioning.

This will also help you improve your conditioning quicker, as your body will have to carry more weight and will have to quickly adapt to this scenario.

Is Wearing a Weighted Vest Bad for You? The Downsides

Having a weight vest on will naturally put more focus and stress on your joints and muscles. So if you’re someone who has had joint problems or injuries before, and if you’re someone who’s not in good shape, then you need to take it slowly.

What are the downsides of wearing a weighted vest all day?

1. More Stress on Your Joints

Wearing a weighted vest is the same as if you were a few pounds or kilograms heavier. Which will inevitably put some extra focus and stress on your joints. Potentially, this can be a killer for your joints.

If you’ve had joint problems or injuries, then you might want to avoid wearing vests. And if you have problems such as spinal stenosis or back and neck pain, then avoid wearing the vest altogether.

2. Potential Injuries

You’re risking injuries when you wear a vest. If you’re untrained and you take it too quickly, you might harm yourself, because your muscles and joints are unprepared. So take it slowly, and “upgrade” the weights on your vest gradually. Luckily, most vests are adjustable so you can change the weight.

3. No Results in Some Activities

Some activities are just not made for wearing the vest. For example, if you spend the majority of your day sitting, then wearing a vest will have little to no effects on you and your body.

How Heavy Should the Weighted Vest Be?

The key is not to overdo it and start slowly if you’re a beginner and if you’re not trained at the moment. This can help you solve many problems and minimize the risk of injuries, as well as pain and fatigue that comes with wearing a vest.

If you’re looking to start out, we suggest you start out with 10-20% of your body weight; for the majority, starting out with 25lbs (10kg) will be just enough at the start. And once your body gets accustomed to that weight, you can add a few pounds every week to see some improvements.

If you’re already in decent shape, then you can start with a higher weight of 30-40lbs or more. But in any case, you shouldn’t go too heavy with the weights or else you’ll be wrecking your back and neck in no time.

The Verdict

Wearing the weighted vest all day can have some good effects on your body. You’ll burn more calories and lose fat, build some strength, and slightly improve your posture along the way. But, scientific research suggests that wearing a vest all day will bring only minimal effects and that the biggest effects are seen when you wear it during workouts.

Our advice: start slowly and do it with a low weight at the start. If you’re someone with spinal problems such as back pain or spinal stenosis, avoid this. If you want, you can only wear a vest when you’re walking or running, as wearing it when you’re sitting will likely have little to no effects.

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