Toning the calves will also make the ankles look slimmer.
The calves are strong muscles that run from the femur bone down to the heels. Strengthening and stretching the calves with targeted exercises can help to tone and slim these muscles, giving them a more streamlined, sculpted look and increasing your ability to walk, run and dance for longer periods without fatigue.
Raise and Shine
Calf raises are a classic calf exercise that require no equipment. Stand with your heels together, toes turned out slightly to the sides. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet and lift your heels up, moving slowly to maintain balance. Lower your heels back down gradually, counting to four. Keep your hands on your hips, or hold them straight out to the sides if you want to strengthen your shoulders. Repeat 10 times.
Exercising with weights can provide additional challenge to your calves. Tie a 1-lb. ankle weight to one ankle, place a chair or stool 12 inches in front of you and stand with your feet together. Keeping your arms straight, place both hands on the chair and bend your weighted ankle, raising it up to your buttocks slowly to a count of 10. Squeeze your hamstring, the muscle on the back of your thigh, and lower your leg. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. Alternatively, you can set a timer for 100 seconds.
Squats are usually done to tone the quads and the buttocks. Incorporating a calf raise will also tone the calves. Stand with your feet wide apart, toes slightly turned to the sides. Place your hands on your hips and keep your chest broad and lifted. Bend your knees so that they hover over your ankles and lift your heels off the ground, keeping your hips steady. Move them back down, then repeat 10 more times.
Stretching is an important part of an exercise routine, lengthening muscles and helping to reduce lactic acid build-up, which is responsible for post-exercise soreness. Stretch your calves by doing a forward bend, a yoga pose that also stretches the hamstrings and hips. Stand with your feet pressed together and bend forward, keeping your spine straight for as long as possible. Let your arms fall to the ground. Do not force yourself to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.