What are cankles? It's a term coined for excess fat that forms around the ankles. The word joins two words: calves and ankles. Excess fat around the ankles has a variety of causes, such as genetics or being overweight. While there is little you can do short of surgery if genetics is the cause, reducing ankle fat is possible if weight gain is the culprit. Lifestyle changes and exercise can help shape your legs.
Diet and Exercise
Eat a healthy diet. Cut out sugar and processed foods. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, such as chicken, fish or tofu. Eliminate soda and sugary-laden juices. Increase your water intake to at least 13 cups per day for men and 9 cups per day for women. Limit your sodium intake, which can increase water retention.
Keep track of how many calories you are eating and how many you are burning per day. To burn fat anywhere in your body, including fat around your ankles, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
Reduce your daily intake of calories if needed. If you find that you are eating more calories than you are burning, you can eat fewer calories to help get you to a fat-burning amount of calories per day -- where you are burning more calories than you consume.
Increase your activity level. If you find that you are eating more calories than you are burning, you burn more calories by being more active and doing more exercise to help get you to a fat-burning amount of calories per day -- where you are burning more calories than you consume. Aerobic exercises burn a lot of calories and can therefore help you get to the place where you are reducing overall fat. Choose exercises that require ankle support, such as walking, tennis or jumping rope. These exercises require your ankle to support your weight while toning your calf muscles. Ideally, you should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, as per guidelines from the American Heart Association.
Lower Leg Exercises
You can use a calorie calculator to determine the amount of calories that are ideal for you to eat for your height, weight, physical activity level and gender.
Avoid jumping exercises if you have knee or joint issues.
Perform lower-leg exercises three times per week. Activating your leg muscles, particularly your calves, will tone the lower half of your legs. This way, when you reduce ankle fat by burning more calories than you eat, your legs will look fit and toned as well.
Perform calf raises to burn a few extra calories and build muscle. Stand up straight without locking your knees. Keep your heels together and turn out your toes slightly. Focus your weight in the balls of your feet while you come up onto your toes. Slowly bring your heels back to the floor. Repeat the exercise 20 times. Hold onto a chair for support of needed.
Perform lateral jumps. L.A.-based celebrity trainer,Ramona Braganza recommends plyometric exercises to help reduce ankle fat. Place a marker on the floor, such as a towel. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Jump from side-to-side over the marker. Land with soft knees. Perform lateral jumps for 30 seconds and build up to longer periods of time as your fitness improves.
Perform squat jumps. To perform squat jumps, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and come into a squat. Make sure your knees don’t extend beyond your toes. Jump up as high as you can while reaching for the ceiling. Land on the balls of your feet. Repeat 10 times.
Things You'll Need
- You can use a calorie calculator to determine the amount of calories that are ideal for you to eat for your height, weight, physical activity level and gender.
- Avoid jumping exercises if you have knee or joint issues.
Ann Daniels has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in many national health and wellness publications. Daniels holds a Master of Arts in communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder.