Ankle weights can increase your injury risk.
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Ankle and wrist weights may appear to be simple and convenient fitness tools, but using these weights can increase your injury risk. Ankle and wrist weights can strain muscles and lead to poor exercise form and balance issues. However, there are steps you can take to reduce risks. If you feel pain or discomfort while wearing ankle or wrist weights, cease using them and see your doctor.
Consider the Injury Risk
Ankle weights can strain your ankle joints and leg muscles and can impair proper exercise form. Wrist weights can strain the muscles in your wrists, elbows and shoulders and lead to ligament tears or muscle sprains. Ankle and wrist weights can throw off your balance, putting you at risk for falls. If you wear ankle or wrist weights on a frequent basis, you could develop tendinitis.
Ankle Weight Safety
Wearing ankle weights when performing aerobics is not recommended due to the increased load they place on your leg muscles. If you do wear ankle weights while walking or running, don't wear them on each outing to reduce the risk of muscle strain. Avoid wearing ankle weights when they could interfere with your workout, for example, when riding a bike or using an exercise machine. Light ankle weights can be safely worn during a strength training workout to perform exercises like knee extensions. You could also wear ankle weights while swimming -- the water will offset some of their strain on your joints.
Wrist Weight Safety
Begin with a light wrist weight until you build up your strength and endurance. Wrist weights greater than three pounds are not recommended because of the increased stress placed on the arm and upper body muscles. Exercises that can be safely performed with wrist weights include lateral raises, overhead presses and wrist extensions. Retain proper form when performing exercises with wrist weights to prevent injuries.
Find Safer Alternatives
Weighted vests may be a safer alternative to ankle and wrist weights, because the weight is distributed over a larger area of the body. For optimum comfort and to reduce injury risk, wear a vest that is no more than five to ten percent of your body weight. For a more challenging workout without weights, try interval training by alternating speed and incline levels. By incorporating spurts of intense exercise into your workout, you can boost the number of calories you burn. Walking poles may be a good alternative to wrist weights, because they give your arms and back an efficient muscle-conditioning workout.