Walking Question: Could ankle weights help me get more out of my usual walking routine?

Response:

A well-rounded fitness program includes both aerobic exercise and strength training, so you’re on the right track — but ankle weights generally aren’t recommended for brisk walking. Ankle weights may strain the ankle joint and leg muscles, which could increase the risk of injury.

To get more out of your walking routine, it’s more effective to simply pick up the pace. If you’re in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

If you’d like to include strength training in your fitness routine, you have plenty of options beyond ankle weights. At a fitness center, you might use free weights or weight machines. At home, try small dumbbells or resistance tubing. These elastic-like tubes offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them. They’re available in different tensions to fit a range of abilities. Your own body weight counts, too. Try push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.

Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ankle-weights/AN01867

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