Hand weights, also sometimes known as dumbbells or free weights, are a great way to strengthen upper body muscles. Most are designed with a narrower bar in the middle, and two discs at each end. This is so the hand weights will fit better in your hands. These smaller weights are good for building muscles as part of an exercise routine.
There are various types of weights, and you will need to choose the ones that are best for you and will fit most easily into your exercise routine. Dumbbells can be purchased in different weights, from relatively light to very heavy. The weights might be a fixed weight, where you will not be able to remove or add extra weight onto the dumbbell. Other weights allow you to add or remove extra discs of weight onto the ends of the bars -- these weights are more versatile if you want to use various weights for different exercises.
Small, soft hand weights with straps are sold and marketed as weights for walking. However, health professionals advise against using the weights while walking, because they have been shown to put undue pressure on ligaments and tendons, and increase blood pressure. A weighted vest or belt is better to use while walking, as long as you can maintain proper posture and walk at a quick enough pace to increase your heart rate.
Hand weights are often sold in sets, so you have various sizes and weights available for different exercises. If this matters to you, you can also find hand weights in different colors. The weights might be made of metal or rubber, and should have an anti-slip grip so you do not accidentally drop the weights, possibly causing injury. You might also purchase weight-lifting gloves to give yourself a better grip and protect your hands.
Be realistic when lifting weights, and work within your means. It is vitally important to maintain proper form and posture when lifting weights to prevent injury, and if you cannot do this, there is a good chance the weights are too heavy. Research weight lifting beforehand, and consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. It might be a good idea to make an appointment with a personal trainer -- even if you can't afford weekly or monthly appointments, the trainer will be able to provide instruction on safe weight lifting and possibly give you a program tailored to your specific goals.