Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to maintain good health. While walking offers many benefits, many people think they cannot take it to the next level in terms of intensity. That is not true. One of the simplest ways to walk with extra intensity is to start walking with ankle weights.
Just by adding some resistance to your workout in the form of ankle weights, you can make your training session harder and more productive and you can burn more calories in this way. But is it absolutely safe to use ankle weights? Find more information here determine whether using these weights is safe for you.
Why Walking with Ankle Weights Is a Good Idea?
Ankle weights are designed to make your workout sessions relatively tougher. You have to wrap them around your ankle when walking or running. They can be up to a pound or heavier. By wearing these weights, you put more pressure on your calves and leg muscles. You will be able to train these muscles in a better way when using ankle wraps.
Interestingly, you can not only wear ankle weights when running or walking, but you can also use them while doing other exercises, including chin-ups and pull-ups. These weights do not cost you much but can make your workout sessions more effective if you want to improve your fitness or lose weight. Just make sure the things you should or should not do when including ankle weights in your routine.
Benefits of Walking with Ankle Weights
It Helps You Lose Weight
It is probably the biggest reason why people decide to use ankle weights. The added weight makes your workout more intensive and helps you burn more calories in the process. You just need to ensure that added weights do not slow you down or change your intensity levels. Research shows that you can burn 5-15% more calories when you use light ankle weights during exercise.
It Helps You Build Leg Muscles
The use of additional weight stimulates your leg muscles in a better way. People who wear ankle weights during leg exercises end up toning their muscles faster than people who exercise without these added weights.
It Helps Get Better Results in a Short Time
Since you have increased the intensity by added weight, you can get similar or better results by working out for the same time as before. It means your workout becomes harder, so you can expect better gains in a shorter time.
Risks of Walking with Ankle Weights
It May Put More Stress on Your Joints
It is obvious that your knees, ankles, and hips will have to work harder when you wear ankle weights, but it can also put excessive strain on these joints. This might result in aching and painful joints. The pain could become worse with time and affect your ability to walk. This usually happens when you already have problems with joints but still wear ankle weights.
It May Change the Way You Walk
When you develop a habit of walking with weights, you may notice a change in your posture over time. Many people develop unbalanced and unnatural stride because of that additional weight around their ankles. With an unbalanced stride, you are at an increased risk of developing pain in your hips and knees.
Consideration for Walking with Ankle Weights
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you decide to wear ankle weights in your workouts. It is especially important when you have a lower body injury or some sort of joint pain. Avoid ankle weights if your doctor doesn’t advise you to wear these weights.
Never start with heavy ankle weights. You are sure to hurt your joints if you decide to go overboard with the idea of wearing weights. Use lighter weights first and then gradually increase the weight. This helps your body become used to the change and work more efficiently.
Wear these weights only when you can walk properly. Choose your weights carefully and ensure you can walk with proper form. Don’t wear heavier weights that you can’t handle or you are going to find yourself in trouble.
Start wearing ankle weights for a short interval in the beginning. Just let your body adjust itself to the weight you are wearing and then keep them on for a longer workout session.
The fact of the matter is that just like any other exercises, there are benefits and risks of using ankle weights. You have to pay attention to different things and choose weights carefully to avoid damaging your joints. Moreover, you do not always need to wear ankle weights because there are other safer alternatives – you can simply increase your walking speed or walk up hills to get similar results.