Some people use hand-held weights called Heavy Hands and/or ankle weights to walk. Research shows that squeezing the weights in your hands increases your workout and thereby your heart rate. Nonetheless, I have reservations about both.
I don′t recommend ankle weights because they put too much abnormal force on the knees. High school kids use them, but kids of that age seem to tolerate about anything. If you are going to use arm weights, I suggest weighted wristbands. They are easy to use, and you don′t have to hold on to them. Of course, vigorous pumping of your arms can also help. A word of caution about race walking–it is a sport in itself. Be aware of the significant increase in torso twist and other movement that is different from simply walking fast.
Fast walking can be better for your health and knees rather than slow jogging. The reason is that the average person walks most efficiently at three and one-half miles per hour. When you need to go faster, you automatically break into a slow jog (imagine speeding up on the sidewalk to catch the green light). This transition comes so naturally because your body "knows" it is more energy efficient to jog slowly than to walk fast. Therefore, use knowledge of this physiological accommodation to your advantage. You want a workout, so it′s OK to be energy inefficient and thereby increase your heart rate. The fast walk doesn′t put nearly as much force on your knees as the jog–another benefit.
This is a section from Dr. Jack E, Jensen’s book The One Stop Knee Shop. Read the next section The Benefits of Cross Training.