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Safe exercise alternatives can help you lose weight without hurting your ankle.
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A bad ankle doesn't have to keep you from exercising to lose weight. As long as your doctor has given you the green light, there are cardiovascular exercises you can perform without putting pressure on your ankle. Low- and no-impact aerobic exercises are effective for burning calories to lose weight without exacerbating a sore or injured ankle.
Cardiovascular Exercise Basics
For each pound you want to lose, you need to burn 3,500 calories. It's best to lose the weight at a slow, steady rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week to keep your energy up and avoid regaining weight after you reach your goal. Aim for a total of 150 to 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. As a woman who wants to lose weight without aggravating a bad ankle, there are some effective, low- to no-impact exercise options you can incorporate into your weight-loss plan.
Water-based exercises are always a good exercise option for those with joint problems or any other health condition that makes it difficult to put your full body weight on your joints while working out. You can burn approximately 500 calories per hour by swimming or doing water aerobics without putting pressure on your bad ankle. Swimming is a no-impact exercise, and water aerobics can be performed while holding on to the side of the pool or a floating device to avoid putting pressure on your ankle.
Arm bikes are similar to stationary bicycles, but instead of pedaling with your feet, you pedal with your arms. This no-impact exercise will help you burn around 500 calories per hour without putting an ounce of weight on your bad ankle. When you exercise with an arm bike for one hour each day, you can lose 1 pound each week. Local health clubs often have arm bikes in their cardio area.
As you do your low- and no-impact cardio exercises to lose weight, include some strength training in your weight-loss plan. You'll build muscle mass as you perform strength-training exercises two to three times per week, for 20 minutes each session. To avoid aggravating your bad ankle, focus on upper-body and core-strengthening exercises you can perform lying or sitting down. Chest presses, biceps curls, dumbbell rows and seated trunk rotations are safe exercises to do until your doctor gives you the OK to do exercises that involve putting pressure on your ankle.