When it comes to exercising, everyone wants more bang for their buck. One way to increase the benefits of leg exercising, including walking, is by attaching ankle weights to your legs. They increase the resistance your leg muscles endure when you work out or walk. You have to wear ankle weights properly, however, to ensure you don't experience some of the negatives associated with these weights -- and it's important to keep in mind that ankle weights are not for everyone.
Stretch your calf muscles with your favorite seated or standing calf stretch. Next, stretch your tibialis anterior muscles of your shins. Then stretch your hamstrings and quadriceps. It is easier to stretch your muscles before putting on your ankle weights.
Put on a pair of knee-high socks to avoid having the weights chafe the skin of your lower legs. That kind of pain would quickly end your workout or your walk. Make sure to pull the socks all the way up to your knees.
Wrap an ankle weight around one of your calves. Keep the bottom edge of the weight an inch or two above your anklebone to avoid restricting the movement of your ankle. Overlap the ends of the weight. Secure the ends together with the attached Velcro or strap, or slide sleeve-type weights over your feet and up your calves. If you find the weights sliding down your leg as you exercise, you can wear taller shoes to keep them above the ankle.
Put on the other ankle weight. Keep both weights at the same height. Walk around to get used to the extra weight and bulk surrounding your lower legs.
- Pick up your pace to increase the benefits of your exercise before resorting to wearing ankle weights.
- Get used to wearing the ankle weights before starting your exercise routine. A few minutes of walking will suffice.
- Ankle weights put a lot of strain on the joints and muscles of your legs, which can lead to injury.
- Wearing ankle weights increases strain on your lower leg joints, which could aggravate an existing injury or make the injury worse. Be sure to check with your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.
Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.