Walkers, joggers and runners who want to increase the intensity of their workouts often turn to ankle weights to add that little something extra to their exercise routine. These strap-on weights add light resistance, which can increase endurance, help build muscle and improve bone density. However, not every exercise expert is a fan of this particular type of equipment. While light resistance is usually a good thing and can help people improve their overall fitness that does not necessarily mean that all types of resistance training are equally beneficial for all types of exercisers.
First, let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits of ankle weights:
1. Weight training can increase bone density.
2. Exercises that increase bone density can help reduce your risk for developing osteoporosis.
3. Ankle weights can help build muscle in your legs and improve muscle tone.
4. Increasing the intensity of your workout can increase the cardiovascular benefits you receive.
5. Increasing the intensity of your workout burns more calories.
All of these potential benefits sound pretty promising, but there is more to the story that you should consider before you run out to purchase a pair for yourself.
Here are some of the potential problems that can come along with using ankle weights:
1. They can place additional stress on joints, including your ankles and knees.
2. They can aggravate preexisting musculoskeletal issues.
3. Frail or overweight exercisers may experience too much muscle or joint stress when using ankle weights.
4. They can increase the risk of injury during use and with long-term use.
5. They may place too much stress on tendons and cause injuries, including sprains.
Walkers, joggers and runners who are in good health and do not have existing problems with their muscles or joints can generally use ankle weights without a problem. These folks can reap the cardiovascular and muscle-toning benefits without much concern for injury. However, people who are just starting an exercise routine, are overweight, have joint issues or are weaker than average should consider other ways to improve their health and get the most from their workouts.
This may include exercising longer, including more inclines or interval training to increase your heart rate while putting less stress on your body.
This is the time of year when most of us are getting back into our walking and jogging routines as the weather warms up enough for us to venture outdoors again. When shopping for workout gear to start the outdoor exercise season off right, consider both the pros and the cons before adding ankle weights to your shopping list.