In theory, the benefits to walking with ankle weights sound pretty obvious: you just add some resistance to your workout and you get a harder training session that should result in an increased calorie burning rate. But what are the possible risks of using these weights? What should you be aware of before you use them during your walking workouts?
If you read this article you’ll be able to determine whether using these weights is safe for you. If not, you may do something wrong that could potentially lead to injury.
Ankle Weights For Multi-purposes
Ankle weights aren’t used merely for walking (or running). They are also used in a variety of strength exercises involving leg lifts or even full body lifting workouts such as pull-ups and chin-ups. As these weights are inexpensive, they are a popular personal fitness item for gym and home workouts alike.
Mainly though, these are used by people who are walking to lose weight or increase their level of fitness. You can probably see people use them in parks where you live.
In the picture at the beginning of this post, you see a picture of the 10 pound valeo ankle weight. You can find weights in smaller sizes, of course. There are a variety of options for you to choose from.
Walking With Ankle Weights Benefits
1. Using ankle weights makes your walking workout harder and more intensive. As long as you complete the same course you normally do and adhere to the same speed, you will have burned more calories. This is why using ankle weights may produce a faster weight loss.
2. These weights add an element of strength training to your walking workout by placing an additional stimulation on your leg muscles. You may find that you’re toning your leg muscles faster when wearing these weights.
3. One way to get results while spending less time on your workout is to add on weight. Making the workout harder allows you to shorten it.
Risks involved with Ankle Weights
Some experts say that walking with ankle weights carries a certain risk with it. This risk can be summarized as follows:
1. The added weight you place at your ankles creates a greater load on your joints: knees, hips, and ankles. This extra strain may make you more susceptible to joint injury, something you need to consider.
2. Wearing these weights may alter the way you walk, creating an unnatural and unbalanced stride which is again risky for your posture and the health of your joints.
As this LA Times article points out, some people will be perfectly fine using ankle weights, but those with existing joint issues should refrain from using them. I suggest consulting with your doctor before hand just to make sure.
It should be noted that some experts are completely against walking with ankle weights and suggest that you should change your walking terrain (to include more incline walking) or to simply walk faster to achieve a better cardio workout.
Tips for better use
1. Don’t use these weights if you have joint issues. If you have knee problems or other joint conditions, check with your doctor to make sure you can use these weights with safety.
2. Don’t go for big ankle weights. You mustn’t go overboard. Start with small weights and gradually increase the weight as you increase your strength and fitness.
3. Make sure you can walk properly with these weights. Don’t be dragged to shuffling your fear or not having freedom of movement just to get a more intensive workout. Form is always more important than packing on additional weight.
4. If you suffer from knee pain or other joint pain, stop wearing these weights for a while and check again with your doctor.
Here’s a video which explains how to wear ankle weights while walking:
One thing to remember: you can get an awesome walking workout without these weights so there’s no reason to hurry and get them. Consider these possible risks and benefits before you decide whether or not to get these weights for yourself.
Walking with ankle weights has both benefits and risks. You can get a more intense workout from your workouts. However, you may also increase the risk of injury. It is important to make sure that your joints are in good condition before using such weights.