You can sew weights to make permanent reusable ones.
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Ankle weights can help you tone and strengthen your lower body when you wear them during strength training exercises, such as leg lifts. They also can increase your oxygen uptake and your heart rate during aerobic exercise, but the American Council on Exercise warns that they increase the risk of an injury when used for that purpose. If you don't have the money to spend on ankle weights or if you're the crafty type, you can make some yourself. Depending on the materials you have and how durable you want them to be, you have several options.
Ankle weights can be made with items found around the house, such as sand, rice, beans and old clothing.
Choose Your Filler
The filler provides the weight you need for resistance during your exercises. Store-bought ankle weights normally are filled with sand, so sand from a beach or craft store is your best option for homemade weights. It distributes well throughout the weights and gives a significant amount of weight without a lot of bulk. Other options include water, rice, dried beans, buckwheat, flax seeds, fishing sinker weights or stones. You won't have to use as much of heavier fillers like stones or sand as you would with something like rice. Water will help you create temporary weights, and if you are using water, you must put it inside zip-close plastic bags that won't leak. You can make reusable weights with the other fillers.
Decide on a Shell
If you want to make reusable weights, fold a square piece of fabric in half to make a rectangular shape, sew or glue two of the sides, add the filler to the open end and then sew that end shut. This is your best option because it creates a permanent, reusable weight and you have control over its size and design. You also can use the sleeves from a long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt or the legs of pants you no longer wear, filling them and then sewing or tying the ends. "The Physiotherapist's Pocket Guide to Exercise" recommends using a pair of tights in the same way. If you are making weights for one-time use, you can add water to plastic bags or put a filler such as stones at the bottom of a shirt or piece of fabric, roll it up and tie it around your leg.
Attach the Weights
There are a variety of ways you can attach the weights to your ankles. The best method is to attach fasteners to fabric weights, which gives you sturdy weights that stay in place and are adjustable to tighten them on the ankle. Sew two thin strips of fabric to each end that you can tie together onto your ankles, or attach fasteners like Velcro or snaps from a craft store. If you filled a shirt or tights, you can simply wrap them around your ankles and tie the ends. If you are using water-filled plastic bags, attach each filled shell to your ankle with a large elastic band, a piece of fabric, an elastic ankle bandage or duct tape. Make sure your ankle weights are fastened securely before you exercise with them.
Weigh the Weights
While you're creating the weights, you'll need to pay attention to the amount of filler you are adding. Put your homemade weights on a scale as you fill them to reach your desired amount of weight. Most ankle weights hold 5 to 10 pounds on each ankle; adjustable weights can hold as low as 1 pound to start with. Adjustable weights are your best bet because you can start with a small amount of weight and increase the weight as you gain strength. To make adjustable weights, create separate sections in a fabric shell by sewing vertical lines along its horizontal length; you can add more filler to the sections as you gain strength. Alternatively, you could put more than one homemade weight on each ankle or simply add more filler to a simple shirt sleeve or rolled shirt shell.