My weight vest was purchased from Hyper Wear in Austin, TX. It fits close to the body, has side lacing for adjustments and the weights are 2 oz. ea. I started with 1/2 lb, wore it 2 hrs a day for a week, then 3 hr, etc. until I reached 7 hrs. a day. I then added 1/2 lb more and started the process over again. I’ve been at it 7 days a week since May 8. I do sit while wearing it for the longer duration since I drive a lot. I wear it only for normal daily activities, not when doing yoga or weight training. I’m wondering if 7 days a week is too many and if sitting has any problem attached. I don’t know where to turn for advice and hoped you might have some good information. One thing I was told was to stop wearing the vest for a time after reaching my maximum capability, then start again. My bone density average is -3 in hips and -3 in spine, both have improved a tiny bit since I began eating primarily a vegetable diet and started weight training. I’m 71 yrs old, 4’11” and weigh 92 lbs.
I can see why you’re putting so much attention on wearing a weighted vest. Stronger muscles and a heavier body are often associated with stronger bones. Since you’re only 92 pounds, you don’t have the protective factor that being overweight has for bone density. If you haven’t gotten the ok from your health care provider to wear a weighted vest, do that first.
The method that you’re using of gradually increasing the weight of the vest goes along with the thought that bone responds well to unique and varying intensities. Kate Lindeman, who writes the osteopenia3.com website, has a description of that method in her Feb. 2013 newsletter.
With your diagnosis of osteoporosis, ask your health care provider for a referral to a physical therapist (PT) experienced with patients with bone loss and possibly a dietician. Even just one appointment with a PT could set you on a course of safe movement with osteoporosis and the optimal use of your weighted vest.
As a group, older adults often don’t get enough protein in their diets. A dietician could help you plan a balanced vegetarian diet with enough protein that will also be healthy for your bones.
Sitting while wearing the weighted vest won’t give your bones the stimulus that it’s intended to give.
–Maybe a little bit to the spine, but certainly not to the hips. There isn’t a set protocol for weighted vests; you’ll need individual guidance. You’ll also need to maintain perfect, upright posture the entire time that you’re sitting with the vest on…hard to do. Otherwise, you’ll go into a forward flexion of the spine which isn’t good for your bones or intervertebral discs. The Better Bones and Balance Program uses weighted vests only after several months and then only during their 3 hours a week of exercise, as far as I know. I don’t know if BB&B participants wear the vests at other times of the day.
I would think that doing resistance/strength training twice a week and weight bearing cardiovascular activities like brisk walking several days a week would give more direct stimulus to your bones and be more helpful than wearing a weighted vest for so many hours and days a week. It’s a process of rest and activity, especially with strength training. Your muscles need to rest in order to rebuild themselves stronger. Too much exercise is counterproductive. You might also take a look at the safety tips of wearing a weighted vest in my blog post from last winter.
We’re in a time when there is much research being done to see what types of exercise can help bones. More research needs to be done, but some of the current research suggests that weighted vests are among the tools that can prevent bone loss in the hip. Just make sure that it’s safe for you with your health care provider.
Weighted vests can also help with a decreased risk of falls because it can increase lower body strength, muscle power, and build better balance. Links to the research:
A long answer to your short question, but it’s good to know the background information! Keep up your great focus on exercise, Jane!