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When your busy schedule prevents you from finding time for a gym visit, your daily activities have to serve as your lone source of exercise. To increase the benefits of such activities as walking around your office and climbing the stairs, slide a pair of ankle weights over your feet, ensure they're comfortably in place around your ankles and conceal them with your trouser cuffs. No one will notice them, but these weights could make a difference with every step you take.
Increase the Burn
Ankle weights are designed to boost the efficacy of moderate-intensity cardio exercises. They're ideal to wear during everyday activities because they provide a number of health benefits. According to the American Council on Exercise, ankle weights can elevate your heart rate, oxygen consumption and calorie burn. In the case of 1- to 3-pound ankle weights, for example, expect them to boost your heart rate by as many as five additional beats per minute. Increasing your heart rate provides a number of advantages, including strengthening the heart itself.
Start With Baby Steps
Although wearing ankle weights throughout the day can provide fitness benefits, the added weight they place on your body can require a period of adjustment. MayoClinic.com recommends avoiding ankle weights during up-tempo activities such as brisk walking. For moderate activities, such as walking around your home and office, ankle weights can be suitable. Build up to their use slowly. Instead of trying them for an entire day, wear the ankle weights for an hour at a time.
Avoid the Risk of Pain
One of the risks of wearing ankle weights is their ability to put strain on your muscles and joints. Ankle weights can also impact your walking mechanics, which can lead to injury. If you have an ongoing lower-body condition, the use of ankle weights can often exacerbate the situation. Ideally, you should be able to wear the weights without them getting in the way of everyday life. If you can't wear them without changing how you walk or if you find they lead to pain, stop wearing them immediately.
Other Ways to Boost Your Daily Fitness
Given the potential health risks of ankle weights, they're not always the best solution for people who wish to increase the health benefits of everyday activity. If you've had a bad experience with ankle weights or are apprehensive of their use, you can improve your fitness just by increasing your walking pace, using the stairs instead of the elevator and adding a few fitness breaks to your workday.
About the Author
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.