If a person is overweight or extremely frail, it is recommended that they do not use ankle weights in exercise.
The use of ankle weights during exercise to enhance a workout has increased in popularity over the years. Before you add a set of ankle weights to your workout routine, however, it's best to review the facts. The addition of ankle weights provides a host of benefits, but they can also put extra strain on joints and muscles. Reviewing the facts will help you decide if the ankle weights would work well for your specific circumstances.
Burn More Calories
Whether you're looking to lose weight or simply burn more calories so you can eat a little more throughout the day, adding ankle weights is a good choice. When you put the ankle weights on, you're adding more weight, which requires you to use more force during exercises. The more force you apply, the more calories you'll burn.
Increase Your Heart Rate
According to the University of California's Berkeley Wellness, in order to benefit from aerobic exercise, you need to get and hold your target heart rate for a total of 20 minutes. Since added weights cause your intensity and energy expenditure to go up, thus increasing your heart rate, you'll be able to reach and maintain your target heart rate much faster.
Take Them Swimming
While it's true that adding ankle weights puts extra stress on your joints, exercising in water negates this. This means that, if you have trouble with your joints, you can still benefit from using ankle weights when working out. Simply put them on when taking part in aquatic exercises instead of using them on land.
Add Some Resistance
When performing exercises like leg lifts, you'll get more of a workout when you add resistance. Some exercise enthusiasts opt for resistance bands, but you can accomplish the same result by adding the ankle weights. The weights provide resistance, causing you to have to exert more energy to lift your leg.
Improve Your Endurance
As you use the ankle weights, you'll have to use more force than normal when exercising. Over time, this builds up your endurance. Take the ankle weights off after a few weeks have passed and see how much longer you can run or work out.
If you like to challenge yourself, you'll find that incorporating ankle weights into a workout gives you a chance to do that. Whether you're practicing planking or doing leg raises, the weights make your legs heavier, which then presents you with the challenge of seeing if you can still complete the exercises you normally do.
Improve Leg Strength
Building leg strength is not only good for your overall health, but useful for going on hiking trips, competing in bicycle marathons and running cross-country. Adding ankle weights makes the muscles in your legs work harder, which causes them to grow and strengthen.
Hit Other Muscles
Depending on the particular exercise you're doing, ankle weights can also work your glutes. If you move the ankle weights to your arms, you'll be able to strengthen the muscles in your upper body as well.
Add Some Variety
Ankle weights can be used during a wide variety of exercises, not just when doing leg lifts. You can use them when doing pull-ups for added weight that increases bicep strength, or when going for a brisk walk through the park. You can even put the ankle weights on when you're not exercising. Consider wearing them around the house while doing chores or when you take the dog out to the dog park.
Save Some Money
Fortunately, ankle weights don't cost much, so money won't be a barrier for most. In fact, you can pick up a pair of these weights in a variety of colors for anywhere between $10 and $20. Some are designed specifically for ankles, while others can be used for ankles or wrists.